Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Star Wars: The Old Republic

You had to know it was coming. Seriously. But here it is! One week after release, I have totaled 32 levels across 2 characters, one a Bounty Hunter, the other a Jedi Consular. So how is it going?

I might just be more addicted to this game than to any other video game. Yeah.

I loved World of Warcraft, even through a little bit of Cataclysm and all the changes that brought. The changes there are too great now and the game has lost quite a bit of its magic. Numbers started getting too high, daily quests started taking up too much time, and there wasn't a lot to do outside of dailies apart from grinding out materials for yourself and your guild. Granted, some of the new stuff was awesome, like the guild perks and races and all of the changes that Deathwing wrought on the surface, and the new dungeons were fun, too. None of those even start to catch up to the rep/mats/money grindfest that the game had become, though. And what are they doing to fix it? Kung Fu Panda. 'Nuff said.

So how is Star Wars: The Old Republic any different? I don't think it will be once I hit the level cap. The way classes play is a lot like WoW to the point that Josh still uses terms like "Taunt" and other tank-ish words while playing his Jedi Knight. The big differences are these:
  • Almost every class can do every roll depending on the talent tree chosen.
    • Only a couple of classes on each side can't do Damage, Tank, and Heal.
  • Quests are a lot more interactive.
    • Talking to your quest givers, you can pick the nice answer or the ass-hole answer, and enough of either will change your appearance and what kind of gear you can use.
  • Your class has its own quest line!
    • When you start out, you have a mentor who guides you through the game. They aren't always beside you, but you report back to them every so often (unless they fall ill or die).
  • Everyone has a "Pet."
    • Pets are called Companions (no, not like Inara) and they fight alongside you, do your crafting, and go on missions for you. Your choices during the quests determines how much your companion likes you, and the more they like you the better they are. You are also responsible for gearing your companion
  • Everyone has a starship.
    • Somewhere around level 17 every character will get their own starship to fly around in outer space. It costs credits to do so, but not a lot. You also get your second companion here. Much like your companion, you are responsible for "gearing" your ship with modifications that can be bought in space stations. In addition to all of these wonderful goodies, there are escort quests you can do in your starship!
 Do I need to tell you how much I love this game or can you guess? On my Consular, Azarshetai, I am very attached to my Master, Yuon Par. As soon as I was declared a full Jedi, she collapsed and has been ill ever since. I'd do almost anything to save her! Maelri, my bounty hunter, is growing increasingly fond of her companion, Maco, who lost the only father figure she ever knew not too long ago. Maco is now on the hunt for her real parents, and Maelri wants to help her there.

Well, I'm off. Need to scrounge something up for dinner.

-Anny

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From the Kitchen: Spring Cove Pancake

Original recipe from Alli at One Pearl Button
My grandmother used to live by a cove on Lake Hudson (in Oklahoma) called Spring Cove. I would go up there for a week or two out of each summer and play Chicken Foot with her and fish with my Papa and we'd go shopping and visit other family and I'd grow as a person for just being in that beautiful place. The time there was as smooth as vanilla and my memories are as sweet as sugar. For those reasons, I've named this modified Cape Cod pancake and renamed it the Spring Cove pancake.

What you'll need:
1 Tablespoon butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

What you'll do:
Preheat the oven to 350*F. In a cast iron skillet, melt the butter. In a bowl, mix together the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, and vanilla until they aren't lumpy anymore. Pour the batter over the butter and bake the whole thing for 20 minutes. Serve with your favorite pancake toppings.

I eat mine plain because they're sweet enough for me without syrup or jelly, and peanut butter doesn't really fit. Next time I go see my grandparents, I'm going to make this for them. They no longer live by the lake, but they're in the same town I grew up in now, and I'll see them in a week or so.

This is me, my little sister, and Gumby in the middle.

In other news:
Personal information taken out due to Blog changes 7/2013

-Anny

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Dress, Circle Skirt, and Cape

So, no picnic dress yet. I still have to finish that, and in order to finish that I have to finish Christmas presents. But... I have my most recent 4 projects in photo form! And without any further ado, here they are:

This is a full circle skirt I made out of some old polyester double-knit that my mom's friend gave to me. It started as a way to add some color to my Sunday wardrobe since said wardrobe is full of black, white, and brown.

The next image is another attempt to add some color to my wardrobe. It also came about as practice for another dress I want to make. Made of homespun cotton, this plaid dress was probably more of a challenge than the lace dress. The Christmas Dress was my first foray into the world of plaids. Of course, I couldn't help modifying it. The black band is a strip of bias tape that I added for an accent.
So we're moving from brown, black, and white
to brown, black, white, and red...
It's SUPER-PLAID! Flowing from red to red plaid to purple plaid, we have my new source of warmth for the spring and fall seasons. This whole project just sort of cobbled itself together. I was originally going to make it out of the red plaid above, but while at Hobby Lobby one day... Well, it was on sale! How could I resist? Three dollars a yard for the soft, warm purply-ness... The lining is some sort of satin stuff that I found at a church sale. It's amazing, too. And, as with the plaid dress, I had to modify. The original pattern called for thicker fabric, a ton of bias tape, and no lining. I nixed the tape, added a lining, and made the whole thing a little more light.

And that's all in the way of clothing. I still have to finish a vest for a friend, my nightgown (that lacks only embroidery and ties in the back), and the ever-incomplete picnic dress. But wait! Don't run away just yet. I still have to show you my grandmother's Christmas present!
It's still a work in progress, though I have four more rows woven and pinned and ready to sew than what you see here. I found this wonderful tutorial over at The Moda Bake Shop, and since I had the jelly roll, I couldn't resist. I know Gumby will love it. How do I know this? I know this because I love it and I don't want to give it up!

That's all for today. Soon I shall have ornaments to show off and a completed rug and maybe even some recipes up. For now, I need to clean my kitchen and figure out something for dinner and get up enough courage to mess with my glue so I can make my sister's Christmas present.

Until next time!

Phwoosh

P.S. I now have a Pinterest account. When I get more pins, I'll throw up a link and you can come check it out.

Friday, December 2, 2011

From the Kitchen: Ham Fettuccine

Thanksgiving's not that far behind us and for those of us who had ham in lieu of  turkey, the leftovers are beginning to get a bit old. I found this wonderful, cheap way to re-purpose the slabs of ham from the fridge and it tastes wonderful.


What you'll need:
12 oz uncooked fettuccine noodles*
1/4 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 T butter
3 c cooked, cubed ham
1 1/2 t oregano
1 1/2 t basil
1 1/2 t parsley
1/2 t cayenne
1 c meatless spaghetti sauce**
3/4 c heavy whipping cream

What to do:
Cook and drain the noodles according to package directions. While waiting for that, in a large skillet, saute the onion and garlic in butter until they're tender. Add the ham and herbs and stir/cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the spaghetti sauce, bring to a boil, and stir/cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in the cream, and toss in the noodles. It doesn't thicken up that much, but the sauce does stick. Serve and enjoy! Makes about 6 servings.

*I had less than 12 oz and snapped my noodles in half. Same amount, but it looked like more.
**We didn't have any pre-made spaghetti sauce (yuck!), so I took a small can of tomato sauce, added enough water to bring it to 1 cup, added some Italian seasonings, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a dash of paprika. Worked wonderfully!

In other news:
Personal information taken out due to Blog changes 7/2013

That's all for today! I'm out, folks.

-Phwoosh

Friday, August 12, 2011

Oh, the thing's I've found...

I've got enough material to blog for a few days at least. Today there will be some pictures, though. I finally pulled the picture of Karen's bag off my camera, and got a picture of the wonderful Sauteed Summer Vegetables. And it's been raining like crazy here for the first time in months, so I have some pictures of the sky to share, too. Also coming today, costume talk. It is supposed to be dress-up day, after all.

First off, The Karen Bag. It's made of denim because she walks everywhere and it needed to be sturdy. She works two jobs, so it needed to be big enough to carry her uniforms. It's blue because that's her favorite color. I now present The Karen Bag.




I made it using a bag I made from a pattern my mom had a couple years ago. It's big enough to use as a school bag with a laptop, charger, and textbooks, and small enough to use as a large purse. The only problem is that it's really deep and it has a large opening, which would make it all too easy for pickpockets. I wouldn't carry it at a festival.

Time for something mouth-watering. The vegetable dish.

Oh, how I love this thing. Pardon my messy stove. Admire my collection of cast-iron. And drool at the glory that is nothing but fresh vegetables. For the recipe, click this link.

Rain! Glorious rain! It hasn't really rained here in about a month and a half. The last good rain we had was on my birthday, June 28. A couple days ago, a couple friends in Stillwater contacted me to let me know what was heading this way. Wind, rain, thunder, and lightning. Loss of power, downed trees, and a little fear. I stood on the porch and watched in true Okie style. The photos that follow are in order of occurrence.



One friend sent a picture to me titled Aftermath. It was a picture of all the trees around his place that had lost limbs. I sent him the last one, also titled Aftermath.The sky was absolutely beautiful all through the storm, and when it had blown over, this is what it left behind in the sunset. We've been having weather like this for the last few days now.

And now for the actual Friday report: I'm getting a lightsaber! More specifically, I'm getting this saber. Sorry. It won't let me post an image of it. I'll get you one when it gets here, which might be today or tomorrow. Anyway... It's my birthday present, precious. I need a costume for it. There's nowhere to wear it 'cept conventions and Halloween, really, but that works for me. And it gives me practice modding patterns. See, I'm not going with the pattern-book costume Jedi mess for me. I want to still look like a female. I don't want the long skirt business, either. After a long-ish search, I found this:
Character design by commander-13




Very close to what I want! The top's a bit too racy for me, and I'll be wearing it mostly in colder weather (Halloween will be it's debut), so I figured I'd add another layer. A long sleeved shirt underneath should do well. Off to the pattern stash! For the under-layer, I found McCall's 7899, printed in 1995. I then looked at it again and discovered that for the tunic, the same pattern would work! I just use some different pieces and lengthen it, leave the sides open for the ties I want, and ta-da!
Tops A and F for the top half of the Jedi costume.

Instead of a narrow belt, as is shown in both the Jedi picture and the pattern example, I'm going with an Obi style belt. I like the width of it and the corset-y influence it has on one's shape.  While thinking about it this morning, I figured out a way to modify this, too. Instead of overlapping ends I'm going to make it just long enough so that the points meet and have them tie together there. I'll put a narrow belt over that in the middle to hide the tie and to put my various pouches on when I get them.

And for the pants, I'm using Simplicity 8186 printed in 1998. They've got pockets and they are tight enough to show I'm a woman, and loose enough to move around in. I haven't yet decided if I'm going to make anything with a hood or not. An asymmetrical mini-cape would be fun, I think.

Now I think I'm done for the day. There's still a lot I want to blog about, though. My experiences with Molten Front dailies, the tiered skirt measurement generator I found yesterday, my pick-nick dress, and the pictures of my new house dress that I haven't taken... Those things will have to wait, though. Now it is time for caffeine and an egg.

-Anny

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

From the Kitchen: Sauteed Summer Vegetables

It's summertime, which means that vegetables are coming up. Oh, man are they coming up. Probably not here, but the local Wal-Mart has some good ones from somewhere right now. Josh and I went to pick up some sandwich stuff and came home with a bag full of yummies. Squash, a tomato, some green beans, a few onions... And all of it went into my latest creation. This one's all me, too.

You will need:

1 small onion, sliced
1 T olive oil
1 medium squash, cubed
1 clove garlic, minced
1 handful green beans, cut into 1" segments
1 tomato, gutted and cubed
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

What you'll do:

Saute the onions in the olive oil until they're tender. Add everything else, lower the heat, and simmer until the vegetables are tender, too.

Makes 2 servings

Yeah. It's that easy. I'm thinking about eating the second serving right now, to be honest. Sooooo good! Next time I make some I'll throw up a picture, 'cause it's pretty too. All the color!

I'll also put up pictures of the Karen Bag. They're still on my camera, right before the pictures of the fire that I've already thrown up. And maybe I'll get some pictures of my new house dress!

So my parents came to visit on Friday and my mom brought a bag of trims with her for me. As she carried it in, I saw a wad of orange fabric on top. And not just any orange; burnt orange. I. Hate. Burnt. Orange. Turns out it was a dress with some gaudy embroidery all over the front and it's shaped like a potato sack. There were ties in the back, though, so that wasn't so bad. I put it on the next morning. Keep in mind: Orange, potato sack, gaudy embroidery. Add to that list: too short to wear beyond the front door. This shapeless thing has nothing going for it! At all! I'm making another.

That's right, I've completely lost my mind. I love it! I'm wearing the orange one right now. And eventually I'm going to make a How to Recreate a Shapeless Garment thing and put it here, too.

The new one is, of course, purple. Instead of the tacky trim around the bottom but not the hem, I chose some black crocheted lace and used that around the hem. One one of the front corners (there's also scandalously high slits =P) I'm embroidering some cogs and a cool steampunk-y swirly thing, compliments of Urban Threads.

Personal information taken out due to Blog changes 7/2013

I started playing Minecraft. It's super-addictive until you get your house the way you want it and landscape your yard to perfection. Then it's boring. I got bored, which means that I spent a week mining for stuff and finding stuff and building a small castle and some waterfalls. All done. I'm actually a little bored with games. Am looking forward to Skyrim, though. Skyrim is the latest in the Elder Scrolls game line. While I missed out on Oblivion, I'm super-excited for Skyrim. Morrowind was just too amazing and I wish I could find my copy so I could get sucked back into that.

Games, food, sewing, jobs... I think I've covered everything! And now it's off to bed, off to bed...

-Anny

Thursday, July 21, 2011

From the Kitchen: Honey Cake (+ fire pictures)

Oh, my, how I do love honey. Sticky and sweet and soooo good! I'll give you the recipe first, and then if you want you can keep reading to hear about how the last couple weeks have been. There will be pictures of fire if you do!

No picture of the cake, though. It's not too impressive to look at, and I was much to excited to start eating it when it came out of the oven. It's sweet and earthy and moist and crumbly and everything I love about cake in one wonderful bite. Cloves and cinnamon and allspice and honey and brown sugar and oh dear... I think I'll have to go have another slice!

What you'll need:
3 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup vegetable oil
1 1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup strong chai tea*
1/2 cup orange juice

What you'll do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 2 9'' round cake pans. Set those aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. Make a well in the center and add the vegetable oil, honey**, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, tea, and orange juice. Mix together, making sure to get all of the dry stuff from the bottom, until it's no longer lumpy. It'll be a bit stiff for a batter; consider using a mixer of some sort. Spoon the batter into the cake pans and bake in the middle of the oven for around 45 minutes***. Let it set 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Serve! And again... and again... and again...

*Chai tea - I poured 1 cup boiling water over 2 chai tea bags and let it steep for around 5 minutes. Worked great.
**Measuring out the oil before the honey ensures that the honey comes out of the measuring cup without a lot of mess. I also guessed on the 1/4 cup part, so that didn't get measured. Just pour some in. It'll be fine.
***My oven is a beast and I ended up only baking it for 35 minutes. Adjust time as needed.

Personal information taken out due to Blog changes 7/2013

I, for one, thought Transformers: Dark of the Moon was awesome. It was full of explosions and conspiracy and robots, which is what a summer movie is supposed to be. I was sad they killed Ironhide, and elated when Optimus killed Megatron. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the first scene in the modern world was a panty-shot of the whiny kid's new girlfriend. They could have left that out.

But it's going to be another year and a half before anything even has a chance of beating the final installment of the Harry Potter movies. Have you SEEN it? Gah! Just... Oh, man. After they butchered Half Blood Prince, I was afraid of watching Deathly Hallows part 1. And after the wonderful movie that was part 1, I was terrified that part 2 was going to be nothing but a battle. It was, totally, but it had everything!

<<SPOILER ALERT!>>

McGonagall called the castle to life, Molly killed Bellatrix, Dumbledore was at the train station with the creepy Voldy-thingy, Nevill killed Nagini, Fred died... They even had the part about Snape and the pensieve! And it showed Snape's patronus! EEEEEEEEEE! Sure, the duel between Molly and Bellatrix wasn't that epic, and the resurrection stone wasn't part of the ring that Dumbledore destroyed, and they left out the attack of the house elves and Grop, and Goyle was a black kid, but let's face it... The movie wasn't about Bellatrix and Molly, at least Harry got the resurrection stone, they left out everything about S.P.E.W., Hagrid was hardly in this one so how could we ecxpect them to put in his brother?, and no one cared about Malfoy's goons anyway.

<<End Spoilers>>

It was a wonderful movie, and everyone should go see it at least twice.

Personal information taken out due to Blog changes 7/2013

So yeah. That's what I've been up to. I'll post some about the adventures of my new warlock, my endeavors at getting a new flying mount on Phwoosh, any other new recipes I have tried and haven't posted (can't think of any, though), and hopefully some crafts when we get a little more settled in.

It's good to be back,
Anny

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Arts and Crafts

The Muskogee festival is almost upon me! Aside from working on my sister's graduation present, I've got to polish my fairy costume up a bit. Having made it last year in about a day for the Norman festival, it needs some work. I constructed a whole new shirt for it, lengthened the bodice, and modified the skirt. So yeah. Everything but the wings changed. And I made some more accessories.
 Here's the modified fairy costume (minus the wings, belts, and tail). The shirt is a bunch of squares with some elastic. Three rows of shirring on the top, a channel for elastic in both sleeves. The bodice was made using a Simplicity pattern. Rather than using grommets in the front, I used watch bands cut from flea-market finds. At the shoulders are two rings that are tied together to give it length and make it fit me better. The skirt was found at a garage sale. It has recently been chopped up, filled in, and gathered to add character.
This is a lovely little wallet I discovered at Insatiable Need. I love Stumble! This is just big enough to hold an ID and a couple bills, but small and slim enough to be tucked inside a corset. If I could have found the first one I made, there would be a picture of it up here, too. Below is a picture of the inside.
And finally, these beautiful little flowers come from Momfetti. I've already linked this site once, but it bears repeating since I've now made three of these cute little things. The mostly brown flower is a ring that I plan on giving away. See below for a story. The mostly green one is on a clip to go in my hair. Of all the modifications and accessories I made yesterday, these were the most painful. I stabbed myself in the cuticle and burned myself with some hot glue.
And now it's story time! Last year at the festival I hadn't been there ten minutes when I heard a little girl behind me say "Grandpa, it's a FAIRY!" He played along and told her he couldn't see me. This went on for a minute or so and I finally turned around and started talking to the little girl. She asked me why her grandpa couldn't see me. "It's because grown-ups don't believe in magic," I told her. We talked for a minute or so and then she started to loose interest. As she and her grandpa turned away, her grandpa mouthed "Thank you" at me. If that happens again this year, I'll be giving the brown one to the girl.

Sarah's graduation present will be posted after she gets it, since I don't want her finding out about it.

I don't know how updates are going to look next week. There should be a recipe for meat pies up sometime. No promises as to when, though.

-Anny

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rag Curled Hair

"Anita, what happen you hair?" I don't know how many times I heard this question today. Most of my co-workers are used to my hair being in a straight ponytail or wadded up at the nape of my neck. The super-curly ponytail today threw them all off.

First off, my hair does not hold a curl well at all. If I want it to really curl, I've got to get help, and three cans of hairspray. It doesn't even scrunch well. The last time it was curled was 10 years ago, and that stayed in for a few days because of the amount of hairspray we used. I've recently been wanting curly hair again. Not permanently curly, mind you. I don't like perms. They make me look like a poodle. I just wanted something bouncy and textured and cute. Then I stumbled onto rag curling.

 And it worked! I twisted my hair up last night, slept on it, untied it when I woke up, and took this picture. Note the bags under the eyes and the not-typical horrible composition of the photo.

Obviously my technique needs refining, since the top didn't get curly, but the rest of it did and it lasted through 8.5 hours of work (wearing a hat, I might add) with no problem. This tutorial is super-easy to understand and is the only reason I had the courage to try it. I'm going to do this again next weekend for the Muskogee Renaissance Festival. It looks like good fairy hair.

And that's your Friday update! I have finished a shirt and I'm almost done with a dress, but I don't have pictures of them, and I've still got to finish my sister's bloomers and work on my skirt for the aforementioned festival. I don't know if there's going to be an update tomorrow, but I don't have to work so there might be.

-Anny

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From the Kitchen : Beer Bread

I've been promising to post this for a month now, and I'm sorry it's taken so long. Beer Bread is wonderful and so easy to make, and needs to be shared with the world. Before you ask, yes you can give it to you children. All the alcohol cooks out and leaves behind a slightly beer-y taste. I don't like beer and I love this bread.

What you'll need:
3 cups flour, sifted*
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup beer of your choice
1/4 cup melted butter

What you'll do:
Mix everything together from flour to beer. If you want soft crust, mix in the butter, too. If you want a crusty bread, don't mix in the butter. After you pour the batter into a greased bread pan, pour the butter over it. Bake at 375 for one hour.

*The flour must be sifted! If not, your bread will come out very dense, and that's not what this bread is about.

See? That's all there is to it. You could make it even "easier" and mix it in the bread pan itself, though I found the process very messy and my bread wouldn't come out of the pan at all, hot or cool. Just a heads-up.

Well... It's 3:52 am here and I've got to get ready for work. Later today I'm making plastic bag ice cream with a friend. I'll let you know how that turns out. Maybe tomorrow. Oh! I also finished a shirt yesterday, and continued work on the Sarah dress. Invisible zipper, for the win!

-Anny

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

World of Warcraft : Lures

We've all seen them... Heat Treated Spinning Lure, Feathered Lure, Shiny Bauble... But with the way Fishing works now, where if you can get to the pool you can fish from it, what's the point of increasing your fishing level for a few minutes?

I've heard some theories that try to answer this question, disproved them, and then I made my own. Here are the other theories:
-The higher your fishing, the less you have to wait to catch something after you cast.
This sounds plausible, but in my most recent round of fishing, it was the type of fish that affected the length of the wait. Deepsea Sagefish consistently bit in the first half of the bar, where everything else bit when time was almost out. The lure didn't matter in this case.
-The higher your fishing, the more likely you are to land in the node.
Once again, my most recent round of fishing proves this wrong. I landed outside the node about half the time I was out there. To 100 Fathom Eel (pool fish), I caught 40 Deepsea Sagefish and 46 Murglesnout (both fished outside of pools).

My last round of fishing lasted 3 hours. It was on May 1 in Uldum. My goal was to fish up 200 fish that typically come from pools. I went for Blackbelly Mudfish and Fathom Eel, 100 each. The entire time I was fishing, I was using a Heat-Treated Spinning Lure, which increased my fishing by 150. I started at level 413 and ended at 450 (which got me Skills to Pay the Bills). I caught 382 fish and only pulled up 35 pieces of junk.

My theory:
The higher your fishing level, the more chance you stand to pull up fish instead of junk outside of pools. The data I gathered fits so far, but I've only got one side of it. I'm going to try fishing again without lures and see what the data says then.

Monday, May 9, 2011

From the Kitchen: Cinnamon Sugar Heaven

Beer Bread will have to wait. I just made an amazing discovery called Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread. I'm pretty sure it's almost gone, and it's not been out of the oven for fifteen minutes. Needless to say, Josh and Cowboy love it! (By the way, I have a new guinea pig. Remember that friend that returned?)

Here's a picture to entice you to make it:
What you'll Need:
Dough
2 3/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 packet yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
Filling
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
4 Tablespoons butter, melted

What you'll do:
Mix together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small saucepan, heat butter and milk just until butter is melted. While waiting for that, beat your two eggs. When the milky butter is ready, add to it the water and vanilla. Add that to the dry ingredients. When it's well mixed, add the eggs. It's going to seem like the eggs never mix in, but keep going. It'll work. The dough will be sticky. Transfer it to a greased plastic bowl, cover, and let it rise until doubled in size. It'll take about an hour.

While waiting for that, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg for the filling.

When your dough is doubled, kneed into it 2 Tablespoons of flour and then let it rest for five minutes. Roll it out to about 12''x20''. Cover it in the melted butter and then sprinkle the nutmeggy cinnamon sugar all over the place. It's going to seem like a lot. Just do it. Trust me. When that's done, resist the urge to eat it as-is. Instead, cut it into 6 equally sized strips and stack them on top of each other. Then cut that into six squares. Stack them in a bread pan, cover it up again, and let it rise for 45 minutes. Then Set the Oven to Cataclysmic preheat the oven to 350 F and bake it for 30-35 minutes.

There's a reason I call it Cinnamon Sugar Heaven. You will understand.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I now have a Social Life

A friend has recently moved back to the city (sort-of), and he's been over for the last two weekends, which is keeping me from blogging. And my parent's were up here for a few days. I've also been working like a fiend, having anxiety attacks, and even crafting a little!

Now that my husband and I are flat broke again, my World of Warcraft subscription has run out, which is going to leave my days off (or the times when Josh is at school) open for catching up here. I think I owe you three recipes and a ton of crafts/pictures, as well as some of my WoW antics and stuff I've learned.

Since I haven't learned much, you get WoW antics and a link today. Link first.

Fabric Flower Pin

This is so cute! I found it and had to make one. Mine's blue. Every single piece is a circle, and there are only two sizes of circles. If I could wear headbands, I'd put mine on one and wear it everywhere. But since headbands don't look good on me, I guess I'll just have to stick it on a mirror somewhere or put a pin back on it for my mom.

On to World of Warcraft! Since I play in the mornings or early afternoons, I don't get to do stuff with the guild, like go raiding or run the new Herocis. Instead, I get to Pick Up Group (pug) for dungeons. Since the last time I blogged about WoW, I've had two memorable pugs, and not memorable in the good way. I was quite irritated.
Grim Batol - We had a Paladin healer and a Paladin tank, and they just couldn't get along. After a snarky comment from the tank to the healer and a few trash pulls, the conversation between them degraded from "Learn your class" to "You're some fat 37-year-old living in your grandma's basement playing WoW all day." The kick feature was broken and we couldn't get rid of either of them. At long last, the healer left and we got another to finish the dungeon. No "Thanks for the run" from this 'lock! By the end I was so irritated I couldn't do much else. But seriously... If Flash of Light was keeping us all alive, why did the tank have a problem with it? Why couldn't he have just let it go? That's the worst group I've ever pulled, and next time it happens, I'll take dungeon deserter or a 45 minute queue rather than sit through that nonsense again.
Vortex Pinnacle - The healer didn't bring any mana-restoring foodstuffs and kept demanding a mage table. We didn't have a mage in the group. After every pull he kept saying "table?" and everyone ignored him. Before the first boss, I got a whisper that said "Could you please put out a table?" and realized that he thought I was a mage. Just because every other fire-throwing gnome is a mage doesn't mean that all of them are! My companion was an imp, not an elemental, and last I checked Immolate was something mages couldn't do. I was nice about it, though, and pointed out that I was a warlock. Really, though... Figure out what people are, what color corresponds to which class. That way you don't look like an ass and the person you're demanding things of doesn't look like a jerk since no one else is paying attention either.

So that's all for today.  There will be a beer bread recipe eventually, and I'll probably put up my chicken piccata recipe too. One day I might throw up some screen shots from World of Warcraft. And I have to let you in on my sewing pattern lamp, based on this one from Etsy.

That's all today, since I'm going to finish a shirt I started a couple months ago. Just a little more hand sewing and a hem and I'm done!

Until... Tuesday?

-Anita (which is Anna in Spanish)

P.S. I got another raise for being on the morning crew!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

From the Kitchen: Cheeseburger Helper

I made three awesome things in two days and couldn't decide which one to post. It turned out to be Cheeseburger Helper, just because it can be a complete meal if you want it to be. There's a story behind why I made this, too!

A friend was coming up to stay the night with us on Saturday night, and he said he'd bring his grill and make hamburgers. When he got here, he had most of his grill, but not the part that held the fire. Problem! Four pounds of ground beef (raised by him, too) all thawed, and no grill on which to cook it. He suggested going and getting some boxes of Hamburger Helper from the store, and I chastised him for it. Why buy the boxed crap full of preservatives and who-knows-what else when I can make the same thing for much less with stuff I have in my kitchen already? A quick search led me to an easy recipe for this, and it was easily doubled and fed me, my husband, and two friends. That's three guys and me.

Cheeseburger Helper
What you'll need:
1 Lb. ground beef
1 cup hot water
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cup macaroni noodles
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup cheddar cheese

What you'll do:
Brown and drain the ground beef. Add everything except the cheese. Bring it to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer for nine minutes. Add the cheese, give it a good stir, cover it again, and simmer three minutes longer. Remove it from the heat, uncover it, and let it stand for five minutes. The sauce will thicken. Serve!

This makes enough to feed four as the main dish, and it's better than the stuff from the box.

-Anny

Friday, April 8, 2011

From the Kitchen: Chicken Noodle Soup... In a Crock Pot!

So, I worked a full 8 hours yesterday, and I really didn't want to be in the kitchen forever when I got home. Perfect time for a crock pot meal! Super easy, and one of the better things I've made in a while.

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
You will need:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, thawed
6-8 slices bacon, chopped up
3 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. basil
1 t. black pepper
2 t. salt
1 T. olive oil
8 c. water
12 oz. egg noodles

What you'll do:
Toss everything except the noodles into the crock pot. Just throw it all in there as-is. Don't worry about chunking up the chicken yet. Put the lid on, turn it on high, and walk away for 4 hours. At the end of 4 hours, grab a metal spoon and chop the chicken up into bite-sized chunks while still in the pot. Add the egg noodles. Put the lid on, and cook for another hour.

Josh ate it with cheese on top, I ate it without. It was good both ways. Very, very flavorful. Very, very easy. I ran two heroics and did a bunch of other things while this was cooking and didn't even think about having something on in the kitchen, which was nice.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

From the Kitchen: Fry Bread

Being born and raised in Oklahoma, Indian Tacos are an essential part of life. You can't go one summer without seeing at least one Indian Taco fundraiser. So, what are Indian Tacos? Other than amazing, they are chili, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sour cream piled on top of fry bread. What's that last bit? I had some trouble explaining this to my husband. The closest I got was "Like a pita, but fried." That's not that close, really, but it's the closest I could get. It should be crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside. Here's my recipe. It's fast, easy, saves well, and you can top it with honey or butter and cinnamon sugar or make breakfast tacos with eggs and sausage on top or something. My favorite's the one with honey.

Indian Fry Bread
You will need:
3 cups flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup milk
vegetable oil for frying

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together. Add the water and milk and mix until it starts to ball up. Turn it out on a heavily floured surface, and with very floured hands, kneed lightly. If you kneed too long, it gets dense, and we're not going for that. Refrigerate it for thirty minutes. While it's chilling, pour about an inch and a half of vegetable oil into a cast iron skillet and heat it up to at least 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The hotter the oil, the faster it cooks. The faster it cooks, the crispier it will be on the outside and the lighter it will be on the inside. Divide the dough up into four equal portions. Again with the flour, flatten each ball out into a disk about 8 inches across. CAREFULLY (I use a wide spatula and a fork) slide one disk into your heated grease. Like frying anything else, this gets noisy and dangerous. Watch out for grease splatters. After about a minute, check the underside. If it's golden brown, flip your disk over. When the "top" is golden to match the "bottom," take it out. I put mine on a plate with paper towels to suck up some of the grease. Repeat for the other three disks, and you've got a wonderful base for an Indian Taco.

This recipe doubles nicely, too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

World of Warcraft: Vashj'ir

Wow. It's been a while. I've had work and Josh and I had a friend over for the weekend and all sorts of other nonsense. Working in the morning is not conducive to blogging in the morning. This nightmare of a job should be over soon, though. I'm trying to get a different job.

So what happened to getting to see something I'm working on? I haven't had time to work on anything. The last thing I made was the start of the Sarah dress. I'll have to try to finish that this week. I did get a hot glue gun, though, so I'm going to try and make a top hat for my upcoming Steampunk costume. We'll see how that goes.

Now... On to World of Warcraft. I knew there was a reason I chose Tuesdays as WoW blog days. Patch day! I am WoW-less today. Is it 4.1 patch day? I kinda hope so. Us 'locks don't get a lot of changes, but the ones we do get look pretty sweet. Rain of Fire does 25% more damage, and Mana Feed give back more mana when you're using a Felguard or Felhunter. Another useful feature they're throwing in goes with Dungeon Finder. That system will try not to put two DPS of the same armor type (cloth, leather, etc.) together. Loot will become much easier!

And now... The moment you've all been waiting for... My thoughts on the underwater Cataclysm zone of Vashj'ir! In short, this is my favorite zone from the new content. I thought Hyjal was good, and I really liked Twilight Highlands, but oh my. Vashj'ir was wonderful! I waited until I had done everything else to do this one and I kinda wish I hadn't. Being underwater for 140+ quests did not sound like my cup of tea. It's really not that bad, though. You get "Sea Legs" pretty close to the start, so you can run along the floor and you get a movement speed increase. After a few quests of that, you get your seahorse. It's an underwater only mount that you can only use in Vashj'ir, but it makes the whole thing go by faster. I was lucky and started out with my Turtle mount (from fishing). He's not as fast as the seahorse, but he's a whole lot cuter.

Vashj'ir's main faction is Earthen Ring. The first guy you talk to down there is in the ER, and most of the people you will quest for are also part of it. I like Earthen Ring a lot. Sometimes I wonder if I should be a Shaman instead of a Warlock. Enough of that, though. If you need gear and you are a healer, I suggest getting your reputation up with these guys. They've got a ton of it.

Your primary enemy is not the Twilight's Hammer. No, you get to slaughter a ton of Naga, who have teamed up with the TH. The foul creatures are sinking ships and carrying off the passengers to mine pearls inside an old clam-god named Nespirah. There's some cultists in there that you get to mess up as you save Nespirah from becoming a weapon of destruction. After that you get the shard of a broken trident. One of the shaman sends you on a few quests to attune yourself with it. I turned into a Battlemaiden of Naz'jar and helped ward off an invasion of Kvaldir, found an important artifact for a summoning ritual, and otherwise helped in the miserable end of the quest-line in Vashj'ir. Of course, these were things that the Battlemaiden had already done and I was "reliving" them.

Long story short, the Naga summoned the Kraken that sunk the ship you were on at the very beginning of the quest-line. The Kraken is some sort of horrible enemy of Neptulon. The Naga aren't content with ruling Vashj'ir; they want the realm of the Tidehunter, too. All of the things you did as the Battlemaiden are now coming to fruition. You go to the big purple swirly vortex of terror with Captain Taylor and the shaman that picked you up at the beginning. Neptulon shows up. And then Naz'jar shows up with a bunch of Naga and her new pet Kraken. I will leave the rest for you to figure out. Needless to say, I almost cried. Seriously.

Some time tomorrow I will post a recipe for Fry Bread. If you've not had it before, you're in for a real treat. I was thinking about making another batch today.

-Anny

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From the Kitchen: Red Beans and Rice

I love this dish. It is amazing! If you want to make me happy, make me red beans and rice. WARNING: It does take a while. Quite a while. Up to 60 hours, really.

You Will Need:
1 pound red kidney beans
1 large onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
4-5 ribs celery, chopped
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
1 ham hock (or a slice of ham, diced)
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced diagonally
3/4 t. thyme
2 bay leaves
4-5 dashes Tabasco sauce
1 dash Worcestershire sauce 
1 t Creole seasoning
Salt to taste

How to do it:
If you want, soak the beans overnight. Then drain them, cover with twice as much water as you have beans, bring them to be a rolling boil. Boil them for an hour. While they're happily bubbling away, work on the onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Once they're chopped, saute them until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and saute two minutes more. Drain the beans, put them back in the pot, and add everything else. Everything. From onion to salt. Bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to (preferably) 3 hours. When it starts getting creamy, adjust the seasonings to your liking. Serve over rice. Or, cool it, refrigerate it overnight, reheat it, and serve it for dinner the next day. It's even better, trust me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

WoW: Planning a Wedding

I'm back on that wonderfully addictive Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG for short), World of Warcraft! Things started looking up and now I'm back to being Phwoosh, the cuddly little fire-throwing gnome.

Most of my time the last three days has been spent in Twilight Highlands, and it's my favorite content for Cataclysm. I haven't done the underwater zone yet. Deepholm was a little boring. Mount Hyjal was fun, but I got bored with it pretty quickly. Twilight Highlands, on the other hand, has a lot of little things that I like. The first to come to mind is the reference to one of my favorite books. You're sent to kill a couple two-headed ogres named Za'brox and Beeble'phod. Rearrange that and you get the name of a two-headed man from Betelgeuse: Zaphod Beeblebrox.

I loved it.

Another part I loved about that quest was that you didn't actually "need" to pick up the heads. The quest giver thinks it's odd and tells you that he would have believed you if you'd just said you'd killed the ogres. It brought back memories of "Go kill this guy and bring back his [body part]" quests.

Earlier in the zone, you get to plan a dwarfish wedding. You have to find "something bold, something brewed, something stolen," and  "something stewed." It makes me wish a little bit that Josh and I had done a Wildhammer wedding. Then again, Cataclysm wasn't out when we got married. It was fun anyway. You get to write a song and make a headdress and even walk the bride down the aisle! Even the part where the preacher turns into a giant tentacle-dwarf-man is fun... If you didn't change out of your armor and into something presentable for the wedding...

Yeah. Don't do that. Just stay in your miss-matched armor.

I have a feeling I'm almost finished with this zone, and then I'm backtracking to the underwater place. I should have Loremaster of Cataclysm by the end of the week. Then it's off to Westfall! I'm going to get the Loremaster title. Might as well start somewhere fun.

Well, I'm off. It's really late, and I have to wake up tomorrow to give you all a recipe. I think it's going to be red beans and rice, since that's the best thing I've made in a few days.

-Anny

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Rare Sunday Update: Wedding Photos

I'm posting this to link to somewhere else. These are pictures taken on November 20, 2010... The day I got married!






Here's my dress. Ok, next!
Ok. I'm kidding. This is the dress I bought when my mom, sister, and I left to get some graham crackers. It was in the bottom of a box of evening dresses the thrift store owners brought down because they wanted the fashion show my sister was giving them to continue. It was a whole $45. I had a $50 in my wallet from selling back text books the day before.




Here's a better one of the dress. You get a train shot in this one. You also get to see the shirts I made for the groomsmen.




Here's one of the whole party. From left to right: Amanda (roommate from OCU), Kenzie (the girl I adopted as my sister), Sarah (my sister and maid of honor), Me, Josh, Thommeh (Josh's best man), Jake, and Cameron (all three were roommates from OCU). The two little ones are Brooklynn and Taya, girls I've known since their mamas were pregnant with them.

I made all the purple dresses and the guys' shirts. The dresses were an experience. I learned a lot with them on basic dress construction and linings and trim. The guys shirts taught me about hand sewing and gathering, mostly.




This one's just cute and I want to post it. Also, yes. I am barefoot. I didn't wear shoes when I got married.




This is one of my favorite photos from that day. Yeah, I'm all sorts of different colors where the tan is concerned, but you know what, it's fine. I'm freaking beautiful.

I'll put the bouquets and table toppers and everything else up later. My laptop is freaking out.

-Anny

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Sarah Dress

Hello, new followers! It made my day to see your names on my Following list. It really did.

On to the post! This is for my sister, Sarah. I changed some numbers in the Princess Seam Bodice Generator and then didn't make a new pattern to fit myself... So the dress won't fit me. Rawr.





It's made out of an old skirt I bought while out with my mom five or six years ago. We were looking for something I could cut up and make into a fairy outfit. This wasn't used. I just cut the bottom of the skirt off at about the length I wanted it to be and used the cut-off part to make the bodice. I'll make straps and ties for it out of that, too.

It's fully lined and will have a zipper in the back.

Here's a detail of the waist, where I attached the made-by-me bodice and the ready-made skirt:



To do this, all I did was line up the bodice seams with the pleats in the skirt, put the blue right sides together, the lining right sides together (to make a big fabric sandwich), and sew it all around.

I'm waiting for light blue thread to finish it, since I can't very well do anything without it at this point. My husband and I are mostly out of the hole now, though, so I should be able to get that, no problem!

I'll post the completed dress when I can get it on Sarah and make sure it fits. Then there will be action shots of her in her new dress with her awesome hair.

There might be a late update tomorrow since I got to go see Megamind and Deathly Hallows again the other night. If not... Well... I'll see you Monday!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From the Kitchen: Irish Soda Bread

I guess this counts as a quick bread since it doesn't need to rise at all. It's really good and takes about an hour from start to finish. You can swirl in some other stuff like garlic or cinnamon sugar, too, making it really versatile. When I made it pre-marriage, my sister would eat it all before anyone else got a chance. Now, as with all bread I make, my husband devours it in all of about thirty minutes. He especially likes the garlic version.

You Will Need:
2 cups buttermilk (or 2 T lemon juice topped off to two cups and left for 5 minutes)
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 425 F.
Sift together (or mix well with fork) flour, salt, and soda. If you want, add 1 T granulated garlic, dill, or whatever. Add the buttermilk and mix well. Turn out onto a floured surface and kneed until smooth. Grease two round cake pans. Place the lump in one and cover it with the other. Bake for thirty minutes. Remove the top cake pan. Bake for fifteen minutes more. Remove and turn out onto a plate. Cover with a towel and sprinkle with water.

Ta da! You've just made the second most wonderful bread in the world, next to French bread.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Princess Seam Bodice Generator

Look what I did! And I'm letting anyone who wants to use it do so. This works for me, and I'd love to see how it works for you. This is taking the place of the dressing up/tutorial today, in case you couldn't tell.

To make it work, all you have to do is take your measurements and put them in the appropriate purple squares. Then follow the directions to draft your pattern! There are some notes at the bottom, so make sure you read those before you start.

This is not the final product! This is only the beginning of this "program."

It is password protected, and if you manage to crack the password and steal my work, well... Ok. I hope you feel really bad for it. I can't keep you from stealing things.

Just click on the link below to download the file. If you have any questions or suggestions or comments, leave them here as a comment or send me an email at princezanna3@yahoo.com.

Download Anny's Princess Seamed Bodice Generator.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

From The Kitchen: Garlic Roasted Potatoes

Garlic Roasted potatoes are shaped like potato wedges, which I generally don't like. I can't get enough of these, though, and neither can Josh. Aside from the chopping and mincing (I don't have a garlic mincer), they take no time at all. They're a great way to get rid of potatoes that are about to go bad. I bet some whole garlic cloves would go awesome in this, too...

4-5 potatoes, cut into wedges about 1/2'' thick at the top
3 T olive oil
4+ cloves garlic, minced
1 t herb of choice
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Preheat oven to 450 F. Toss everything together in a bowl or put it in a container with a lid and shake it. Spread it on a cookie sheet. Bake 12 to 15 minutes. Flip the potatoes over. Bake for 10 more minutes. Serve with or without ranch dressing.

There will be some leftover oil stuff in the bottom of your bowl (if you didn't pour it over the potatoes before you baked them). Wipe it out with a slice of bread and eat it. Seriously. It might be more awesome than the potatoes themselves.

Notes:
4+ cloves garlic - It depends on the size of the cloves. Make them big ones!
1 t herb - I use basil, since it's my favorite herb and it goes well with garlic and olive oil.
1 t salt - Normal salt is fine, but I like sea salt on them. So does Josh.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Who You Are vs. What You Do... and something about a game

Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. Probably one of my favorite games ever. Then again, I love everything in the Elder Scrolls line. The last time I remember playing was July 2009 when I was coming down with piggy flu, though, and when I started having weird dreams about the game, I uninstalled it. The game itself, though, is absolutely wonderful! If you don't want to do the main quest or you want to wait to do it, fine! Wait. There are a hundred other things to do in the meantime. You could join one of the great houses or a guild... Or both! You could "level a profession," to use WoW terminology, or set out on an epic quest to kill all wildlife in the game... Or, as others have done, collect all the pillows and build a giant tower of them in Balmora.
The tutorial part of the game is the very beginning, when you wake up on a ship. Someone asks your name, and you type something in. A guard comes and you learn how to walk and open doors. You then get to pick your race and appearance. There aren't a lot to choose from, and appearances are kind of limited, but that's ok. It's a single-player RP game. No worries about looking exactly like someone else. You then talk to someone and choose your class and your sign. In another room before you're unleashed on the world, you learn combat and how to use things like food, torches, and lockpicks. In the last room, you get your first assignment: Travel to another town and find Caius Cosades. After that, you're off! The starting town has a lot of things to teach you how to play if you feel like hanging around and learning them, or you can go hop in a bug and ride to Balmora to find Caius.

In Balmora, you can join a House, if you are inclined to join the house dealing with rogue-ish traits. Sneaking, theiving, and smooth talking are all favored by House Hlaalu, who kind of own the place. There are also hubs for all of the guilds: Fighters Guild, Mages Guild, and Thieves Guild. The temple also has a club to join, if you feel like being religious. They kind of want to squash you near the end of the game, though. Hundreds of quests and rewards are in store should you join anything, though, and I strongly recommend it. You get access to trainers and vendors that you wouldn't have otherwise, and in a House, they build you a mansion! With all sorts of awesome stuff that's yours for the taking.

If you get through with the main game, there are two expansions. I've only played Bloodmoon (werewolves and a bit of Norse mythology! Lots of fun), but I'm itching to play Tribunal. And if you've played through those, there are mods you can download for free to add even more items and quests.

TES III: Morrowind is only $10 at Wal-Mart. Go get it and get addicted. Then play TES IV: Oblivion. I haven't played that one yet, either, but I'm going to before 11/11/11... When TES V: Skyrim comes out! *nerdgasm*

Tomorrow I don't work until the evening shift, so I'll give you some cool recipe in the morning.

-Anny

P.S. - There's an opening at my husband's college that I might be able to fill! His professor is looking into it for me and he said he'd push my name up as far as he could. No more grease burns! *crosses fingers*

Friday, February 18, 2011

Bleach Dying Fabric

I had a blast the other day with a length of purple silky fabric, a dish of bleach, and an empty paper towel tube. My result turned into a dress that I can't wait to have an excuse to wear. And the best part: The bleaching and the sewing all happened in one day! And half of that while I was on the phone, to boot. So, do you want to learn what I learned? Ok, then!

You will need:
- Fabric suitable for dying. This means not silk.
- Old clothes that you don't care about. I didn't do this because I was to excited, but you should.
- Somewhere outside. DON'T DO THIS INSIDE! I still smell bleach and it's giving me a headache.
- Something to apply the bleach to the fabric. Paper towel tube, paint brush, eye dropper thingy, spray bottle...
- A bucket of water.
- A dish of bleach. Normal Clorox will be fine.

Here's the bleach and the object I used to put the bleach on the fabric with. I didn't need that much bleach at all, since I was putting so little on my fabric.

A scrap of the fabric I used. I'm not sure what kind it is, but it bleached just fine. I read that natural fibers work best, but that bleach weakens silk fibers. So, stay away from polyester and silk and you should be fine.

The picture is tilted, but it gets the point across. Dip your applicator in the bleach and let it soak up a good deal of the stuff.





This one's tilted too, bit again, it gets the point across. Apply your bleach.




Make sure your bleach really gets into the fabric. Apply as much as you think you need to. Then wait. The time will vary depending on your fabric and how much you put on, etc. I waited between three and five minutes.




Rinse it out really well.

Hang it up to dry. See the spot where the circles aren't very dark? If that happens to you, wait until it's dry to go back and re-bleach it. Yeah, you'll have to wait for it to dry again, but that's better than the bleach spreading due to the water and making blurry marks... Which is what happened to me.




When it's dry, turn it into something awesome. I cheated on this dress in a couple of ways. The bottom isn't hemmed... That's the selvage. It doesn't look much like selvage, so I figured it would be fine. And it was. I also put the bottom elastic too far down, and rather than just take off the tape and re-sew it, I folded the inside and stitched really close to the tape, trimmed the extra off the fold, and zig-zag stitched the raw edges. You can't even tell!



Links I used:
Dying With Bleach - This is the site I primarily used for the bleach dying. There were some other sites that I googled, but I can't find them now.
Ruched Empire Dress - This is the site that gave me the idea for the dress. Check it out. There's some awesome stuff here.

It's looking like I'm not blogging tomorrow. Haven't finished reading The Two Towers, and haven't seen any new movies.

-Anny

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Links - Free Patterns!

I am always drawn in by the promise of free patterns. Always. I've also found a couple awesome pages for my two favorite periods of costume: Renaissance and Victorian Era.

The first link I'll give you is for DawnPages. I found this site a long time ago, and then lost it again. It recently popped back up in a list of free pattern sites that I found, and now I'm going to share it with whoever's reading. These are primarily Renaissance styles that could be found all over Europe at one point or another, so says the webmistress and I'll believe her. They're easy to follow, and they look good too.
DawnPages
Not only does she give free "patterns," but also her thoughts on good and bad costuming. It's a pretty awesome read. If you're a quilter, go check out her blog.

DawnPages seems to be down right now. Maybe she's putting up the pictures of the Lord of the Rings costumes she got to see and touch and take pictures of...

Another site I'm sharing today is for Victorian and Edwardian clothing. They're the original pieces and instructions put on the webz. I find it a rather frustrating site because I like being told how to do things... or given an easy enough pattern that I don't need instructions. This site doesn't do that. The patterns were made for ladies who had grown up sewing and needed no instruction on how to follow the patterns.
The Ladies Treasury of Costume and Fashion
One day I will figure out one of these and I will show the world!

Today you get three links! This last one is to a pretty good site called Burda Style. What? You've never heard of it? Ok. There are free patterns there and not free patterns there. Most of the not free ones are found in Burda Style Magazine, and you have to pay for them. The favored price now is $5.40. The link I'm giving you will show all the free patterns, since that's what this blog is about.
Burda Style
Yes, it requires an account. It takes less than five minutes to set up and it's 100% free, and then you get wonderful, awesome patterns right out of your printer. I made a dress from this site and I love it! There are also a hundred other things I want to make but don't have the time or fabric for.

That concludes the Sharing of the Links for today. Tomorrow you get a double feature... A tutorial and a showing off! I can't wait!!

-Anny

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From the Kitchen: Pork Chow Mein

This is ridiculously easy, super-cheap, stupid fast, and so good you won't have leftovers. Josh loves it, which is always a bonus. Just make sure you have everything prepared and within reach when you start cooking. You can't stop with stir-fry. If you need to, grab a helper to hand you things.

You will need:
2 pork chops, sliced into 1/4'' strips
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T soy sauce, divided
2 T cornstarch
1/2 to 1 t. ground ginger
1 cup chicken broth (I use bullion and it turns out fine)
1 T vegetable oil (NOT Olive oil*)
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
Hot cooked rice

What you do:
1. Put your pork strips, garlic, and 2 Tablespoons of the soy sauce in a bowl. Cover it and put it in the fridge for 2 hours. This is a good time to chop everything up.
2. When it gets close to time to pull the meat out of the fridge, combine cornstarch, ginger, broth, and remaining soy sauce.
3. Start cooking the rice.
4. In a wok or large frying pan, coat the bottom and sides with vegetable oil. Turn on the heat. It needs to be pretty high. Yes, it will smell like you're burning things when stuff starts going in, and there will be smoke. Don't worry. It's ok. Just turn on the vent hood.
5. As soon as the oil in the pan starts smoking, dump in the pork mess. Stir like crazy until the meat is no longer pink. Remove it from the pan.
6. Throw the carrots and celery (if used) in the pan. Stir like crazy for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the onions. Stir like crazy for 2-3 minutes.
8. Give the broth mess a good stir; the cornstarch will settle to the bottom if you don't and this isn't good when you try to pour it in. Pour it in along with the pork.
9. Stir like crazy until everything is coated and sauce begins to thicken. This will take 3-4 minutes.
10. Serve immediately over rice.

* Olive oil has a lower smoke-point than vegetable oil. This means that it smokes at a lower temperature, which isn't good. You need a really hot pan to make stir-fry work right. It's also important to have your pan hot when you add your first ingredient. It flash-cooks the food and seals in the flavor better.

-Anny

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Raid: Middle Earth (10 Man)

This isn't that much about World of Warcraft, since I haven't been on to play in a couple weeks. Sorry! I'll research and come up with something better next week if I'm not back on by then.

Instead, this is mashing together two of my favorite things: WoW and Lord of the Rings! My husband and I came up with it last night while he was washing dishes for Valentine's Day (it was AWESOME!).

The quest to destroy the Ring is a 10-Man Raid, and it's divided into three parts. A guild called Fellowship decides to do a run with 9 people (all Alliance, sorry Hordies!) and no healer.

Gandalf - Raid Leader/DPS - Human Mage
Aragorn - Main Tank - Human Paladin
Boromir - Off Tank - Human Death Knight Warrior
Legolas - DPS - Night Elf Hunter
Gimli - DPS - Dwarf Warrior
Merry - DPS - Gnome Warrior? Rogue?
Pippin - DPS - Gnome Warrior? Rogue?
Sam - DPS - Gnome Chef
Frodo - DPS - Gnome Brat

The gnomes decide to walk to the raid entrance. On the way they meet some nasty elementals, do a lot of hiding, and spend  most of their time eating and resting. Aragorn meets up with them in the middle, and Frodo gets a nasty de-buff cast on him. Boromir does the same thing, but he's moody and won't talk about what happened on his trip. Gandalf has some trouble with a Horde warlock and is eventually able to hop on his flying mount and fly to the entrance. Legolas comes for the grins and giggles. Gimli, who really likes to role play and should probably be in Clan Battlehammer, thinks it's what his character would do and goes along.

In The Halls of Khazad-dum, the first big part of the first part of the raid, a lot of stuff happens. Gimli got weepy when he saw a random tomb and declared that it was a relative. No one was paying attention to anyone's gear, so no one knew that Frodo had an epic in his chest slot that absorbed a lot of damage and saved the gnome's life. And then the unthinkable happened: The mage went OOM. He tried to be a hero and take on a boss on his own. Yeah, he downed it, but he died in the process. Aragorn was yelling "Blink! Gandalf, blink!" Didn't work. Gandalf disconnected, too, and didn't come back online after he died. The guys in the party decided to 8-man it since they didn't want to pull anyone else in, and kept going.

After a small vehicle quest with some lame arrow game on a river, the party decided to stop for a while. At this point, it's worth mentioning that there is a quest item, and only one person has it: Frodo. It allows him to go invisible, but over time it stacks a small de-buff on him whether he wears it or not. When they stopped at the side of the river, Aragorn pushed his new status as Raid Leader off on Frodo and told him to pick which way to go. Frodo walked off to think about it and look around, and Boromir followed him. Turns out, Boromir wanted the quest item and was getting angry that Frodo had it and wouldn't give it to him. "Dude, I need the xp! Do you know what I could get with that thing?!" He ended up hurting Frodo's feelings, so Frodo went invisible and ran away. He figured that everyone else wanted the item, too, and decided to finish the raid on his own, sneaking around all the mobs and bosses.

It's a good thing he was invisible and sneaking around, since a huge amount of patrolling trash mobs showed up. They Death Gripped Merry and Pippin and pulled them away from everyone else and killed Boromir. He logged off afterward 'cause he didn't want to play with Frodo any more, and left the guild the next time he logged on. Frodo swam across the river (and since you can't not swim in WoW [it should be known that Sam can't swim and doesn't trust water in LotR]) and Sam followed him. Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli decided to follow Merry and Pippin, since they wanted more boss battles and it was pretty obvious that Frodo was going to sneak around them.

Sam and Frodo picked up a mechagnome NPC named Gollum, who led them most of the way to where they were going. Blizzard made the NPC so that you had to be careful around him in case he decided to randomly slit your throat. Frodo, being lazy as usual, decided to keep him around and not kill him when his name went red so that he wouldn't have to find his own way to the end of the raid. Sam didn't like it and roughed up the NPC every chance he got. Because neither of them read up on the raid or the quest, they didn't know that Gollum would eventually betray you and lead you to a big SpiderBoss. Frodo got stunned, Sam killed the boss, and they were almost there!

The two gnomes eventually reached the point that triggered an epic cut-scene where Gollum takes the Ring (quest item) and dances around, and then falls off a ledge into some lava. The ring is destroyed and the quest complete. The cut scene keeps going, though, showing Sam and Frodo running out of the mountain as it explodes lots of lava. Some Gryphons come and pick them up and carry them to a city. The end!

I didn't cover the content for the other half of the Fellowship because I can't figure out how to fit that into a raid context. I also don't like Frodo very much at all, in case you can't tell.

I had my first night of work last night and it's worse than before. I'll be changing jobs as soon as I possibly can. In the meantime, though, my hours are crazy! I either work really early or really late. This means that I'll be trying out the scheduled post function.

Tomorrow will be a stir-fry recipe that Josh absolutely loves. Pork Chow Mein.

-Anny

Monday, February 14, 2011

A piece of paper doesn't make you any different than anyone else...

This is NOT to put down anyone that works fast food. NOT NOT NOT! This is about how proud and stuck-up I became after graduating from college.

When I was living at home finishing up school, I got a part-time job at McDonald's and was there for 5 months. I stayed after I graduated just because I had to pay for my wedding. Six days before The Big Day, I quit. You know... That was three months ago today. Oh, the irony!

I had all these dreams of working in a call center or for Geek Squad or some place I could use what I learned when I got to the city. I figured that sitting in a classroom for three years and accruing tens of thousands of dollars of loan debt would land me somewhere better than fast food. Two months of job searching only to read "Minimum ___ years experience required" on everything made me cave. I cried the whole time I was filling out the McDonald's application for the location down the street from my new home. I thought nothing could be worse than having to apply there... Until they called back and scheduled an interview. Then I didn't know what was worse: Them calling to say that I was hired, or not getting a job where I had experience.

Three months ago I quit. Today's my first day back. Part-time, minimum wage, flipping burgers.

There's a lesson in here somewhere. There has to be. Something about pride, perhaps.

My first round with McD's was one bad week after another. The manager that hired me got fired a month later. The only real good manager they had got fired. Another manager came in and no one could stand her. She broke her arm and had to leave for a while. I was gone for 2 weeks and half the people I started working with either quit or got fired. Corporate would come in during rush hours and get in the way and criticize everything and generally slow us down, then whine about our times. The new store manager they sent us was a complete idiot. I won't go into all the crap he did (or didn't do, which is a longer list). So, maybe it was just the people. I'm down with that idea. The people generally sucked. The people at this one could be great! I'm assured they are.

There's more to it than that. In my mind --this is not they way it is at all, and I'm learning-- McDonald's is great for a high schooler or someone that quit after their high school graduation and has no direction in life or a college student who can't work full time or for someone that doesn't need to work and is bored (though why they'd choose this place I don't know). For someone supporting herself and her husband, who has sat through three additional years of misery after high school and has 2 degrees, this job just won't do. This is the feared "spend the rest of your life flippin' burgers at McDonald's" job, literally, that we heard from teachers who said we were never going to amount to anything. This is below me.

Six months ago I would have punched me for saying this. Six months ago, though, I fell into the college-student-who-couldn't-work-full-time category. Nothing was beneath me then. I walked across the stage and something happened. My head got a little bigger. My last day of torment at McDonald's came around and I swore "Never again!" and my head grew some more. I had elevated myself above the rest of humanity just because I'd gone to a few extra years of school. Without realizing it, I was looking down on everyone from on top of a completely useless degree and one I'm still a class away from having (I don't have 2 yet, to be honest). I had become too good to work fast food or as a waitress. Retail was perfectly fine, though. I've been hoping for two months that Hobby Lobby would call me back. Someone explain that one, please.

I dread 5:00 pm today. I don't want to go back, still. I'm holding out hope for Hobby Lobby or a bookstore, though honestly I'll probably end up working both the retail and the fast food jobs.

So. Life Lesson #2 - No human is better than another. What's good enough for one is good enough for all.

-Anny

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lord of the Rings: Movie vs. Book Part 1

I am a Middle Earth fanatic. I've read The Silmarillion and bits of Unfinished Tales as well as The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. If you can, I advise reading through at least The Silmarillion in addition to the more well known stories. It makes a lot of things in Lord of the Rings make sense, except Tom Bombadil. He wasn't supposed to make sense, though.

I also enjoy the movies, even though they've got some HUGE differences from the books. Since I'm reading Fellowship of the Ring right now, that's the one I'll do today. Also, this is not the extended movie, as I haven't seen it.

It's time again for Bilbo's birthday! Yay! Party! Gandalf is coming to the Shire. Frodo meets him. Didn't happen in the book, but ok. It's a good way of introducing one of the main characters. They're driving to Bag End. Gandalf shoots off some fireworks for the little hobbits chasing him. In the book, the little ones chase him all the way to Bilbo's house and are incredibly disappointed because he didn't show them anything pretty. Not even a little one. This difference is ok, too. I liked that Gandalf got a little showy. The party starts, lots of food, music, fireworks, Bilbo's speech and disappearance, yadda yadda. Things go really well up to the end of that. And then no time passes at all and Frodo leaves Bag End with Sam, runs into Merry and Pippin in a field, and gets chased off by Farmer Maggot.

Whoa whoa whoa! What? No. Frodo doesn't find out what the Ring is for around 9 years. Then he sells Bag End to his uncle's most unfavored relatives, the Sackville-Bagginses, has Merry cart his stuff to a house in another part of the Shire under the pretext of moving, and sets off to his new house with Sam and Pippin. They have dinner with some elves one night, stop for dinner at Farmer Maggot's after being stalked by Nazgul for a while, and catch a ride with the farmer to the ferry. He even gives them a basket of mushrooms! Merry shows up and escorts them across and to Frodo's new house, where they spend a night and then set off into the Old Forrest the very next morning, leaving a hobbit named Fatty Bolger to pretend to be Frodo for a while. The trees in the forest are old and they don't like Hobbits very much after a bonfire the Hobbits started once upon a time in the middle of the forest, so they drive the travelers to the river, and Old Man Willow. Yes, he's a tree. No, he's not an Ent. He's just ancient and not very happy. Frodo gets dunked in the water and a root tries to hold him down. Merry and Pippin get sucked into the tree. Sam pulls Frodo out of the water and they decide to start a fire to force the tree to let Merry and Pip go. That doesn't work, so Frodo panics and starts running around screaming "Help! Help!" Along comes one of my most favorite characters, Tom Bombadil. He whacks the tree and tells it to let the little ones out, and then invites the hobbits to his house for the night.

Tom is described as being the Master, but he only has real power within the land he calls his own. This is the only thing that, in my mind, disqualifies him from being one of the Maiar. You see, There's Illuvatar (God), and then the Valar (Vala is the elvish word for Angel, but the Valar are, to me, more like lesser gods), and then the Maiar (helpers of the Valar. Sauron is a Maia). They have a considerable amount of power, such as Tom displays over the Ring and the forest, and have been around from the beginning of Arda, and Tom claims that he has. Anyway, back to the story.

They stay with Tom and Goldberry, his wife, two nights, and are sent on their way. As hobbits will do, they stopped for lunch and ended up taking a nice, long nap. When they started on their way again, a Barrow-Wight got them. Frodo wasn't as deep under the spell as his companions and managed to keep them from being beheaded, and then called Tom to save them. Tom rides with them to the road after that, and the hobbits come to Bree where they meet Strider.

Now the book and the movie are back on the same page for a chapter or two, after Peter Jackson cut out 3.

Strider takes the hobbits to Amon Sul, also called Weathertop, where they don't have the funny conversation about Hobbit meals (which was a good addition to the movie since it hadn't gone through the walk-eat-walk-eat-sleep-eat-walk-eat- rest-eat nonsense that it missed in the other 3 chapters). He and Frodo go to the top and find a rule left by Gandalf, and a large, scorched patch where there had recently been a huge fire. It was apparent that Gandalf had been there and had been attacked. They went back down and stayed in a cave thing at the base of Weathertop, where they were attacked by Nazgul, Frodo put on the Ring, and got stabbed. It was also a good thing in the movie that they had this part on top of the hill. It was more... Flashy? Cool? Yes. Cool. Frodo held out 17 days with a shard of the witch king's sword burrowing toward his heart. Seventeen days he was riding Bill, the pony Sam bought in Bree, talking, traveling, and not being so pathetic. While they were making their way to Rivendell an Elf Lord (not Arwen!) came and traveled with them, letting Frodo ride his horse. Then all 9 Nazgul showed up near the Ford, Frodo made it across on his own, and when the witch king stepped into the water, a great flood came down, and figures of tall riders on white horses could be seen. This wasn't the design of Arwen, but of her father Elrond and Gandalf (who put the horses in there to be showy), and was kind of a trap. Frodo fell off the horse, was found by elves, and carried into Rivendell, where Elrond healed him.

So, there were a few minor differences there. I thought the chase scene in the movie with Arwen and Frodo vs. Nazgul was pretty awesome, but I get frustrated with movies when they put in pretty chicks where there aren't any (don't get me started on the new CrapClash of the Titans movie, where they even got Io's story wrong).

Everything in The House of Elrond passed just about as it had in the book. Boromir wasn't so childish at the council, though, and there wasn't a big fight over who would carry the Ring. Bilbo offered to, since he said he started the whole mess by finding the Ring. Not much important stuff there.

The next big difference comes when they depart. Aragorn is carrying Anduril, which is Narsil reforged. He had been carrying around the hilt for years. This means that there's a huge wrong in the Return of the King movie (in fact, Elrond didn't show up there at all! It was a company of Rangers), but we'll get there later.

Walking, walking, walking, walking. They got that part right. And then Cruel Caradhras. My only gripe here is that it wasn't Sarumon causing all the problems. It was the mountain itself. It would have been funny, though, to see Aragorn and Boromir tunneling through the snow.

And then Moria. I think they did a pretty good job on Moria. What they chose to change, they chose well. Adding a little action with the Watcher in the Water, having Pippin push a skeleton and a bucket down the well instead of throwing a rock, making it a troll instead of a giant orc that stabbed Frodo... These were all excellently done. I also liked the scene on the broken stairs, where we find out that Dwarves will NOT be tossed, even though that wasn't in the book either. The fall of Gandalf was also very, very well done, and fit almost perfectly with the book. Gandalf yelled "Fly, you fools!" as he was falling, but I thought a harsh whisper before the fall better. The escape from Moria was done well, and being found in Lothlorien was ok. It was all right to leave out the company having to sleep in a tree for a night, but they missed out on Gollum.

I hate that they left out the blindfolding thing. Because he was a dwarf, Gimli had to be blindfolded to be led to the elvish city. He pitched a fit, but Aragorn said that if one of them had to be blinded, all of them would go as such. Gimli was appeased, but only due to the fact that Legolas was going to be just as blind to the beauty of the forest as he was.

Things in Lothlorien went well until the gifts. Ooh... This may make me more angry than leaving out Tom. In the movie, only Frodo got something. He got the right gift: A vial of light from the star Earandil. In the books...
Sam got a box of dirt and a seed from a mallorn tree. Merry and Pippin got silver belts. Aragorn got a scabbard for Anduril. Boromir got a gold belt. Legolas got a bow of the style that the elves of Lothlorien used. My favorite gift was that given to Gimli the Dwarf. It's no secret that dwarves and elves are not friends. Come on, Gimli was going to have to be blindfolded to walk through the forest. Galadriel asked Gimli outright what he wanted. He told her that it was enough to have seen the lady of the golden wood, and he meant it. When she commanded him to name his desire, he simply asked for a strand of her hair.

This was huge. Why should a Dwarf ask for and receive a strand of the Queen of Elves' hair when forever ago she refused the request to one of her own kind? That's right. An elf lord asked for a strand of her hair and she said "No." So along comes a dwarf and he gets three! That's right. She unbraided her hair and plucked out three golden strands to give to a creature with whom her kind have had a rivalry for thousands of years. The thing is, though, that he didn't ask for it. He would have gladly walked away empty-handed, because he was being honest when he said that getting to see her was enough, but she ordered him to name his desire, and she gave him what he named, though he didn't ask.

Floating down the river is kind of hard to mess up, and they stopped at about the right place. Everything followed the book to the end, and then kept going. The Fellowship of the Ring ends with Sam and Frodo going off alone. Boromir doesn't die until the next book. So... In a couple weeks, after I have once again read The Two Towers, I'll have that one to right about!

This ended up being longer than I thought, and the other two aren't likely to be any shorter. Of the three, however, Fellowship of the Ring is my least favorite book and movie. The book is about walking, and the movie found too many ways to mess that up. After reading into the history of Middle Earth, though, the songs make more sense, and things like Gimli and Galadriel's gift have more importance.

So. On Monday you shall have something I've learned, and it will probably be something about pride.

Until Monday,
Anny