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.


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.


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!


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:
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
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!