Monday, September 28, 2009

What to Wear, Weekend Edition

What to wear when you spend hours on a dress for the Ren Fest, but it's too cold, rainy and muddy to go to the Ren Fest, so your family goes instead to the local Gem & Fossil Show.

"I'm wearing this @#$% dress today!"

What to wear when you were planning to go to a small Ren Fest in PA, and you're beautiful, you're rich, and you've got...
Not to mention how well it embarrasses your teens, for their mom to wear a shirt that quotes the Holy Grail.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ronnie Got His Gun

From this $5 walmart toy...

To this!

From this...

To this!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In A Perfect World

This Button would be my doorbell.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oh, The Humanity!

I was asked to make a cake for a teen's surprise birthday party. When asked what type of cake, the party-thrower replied, "Something like a steampunk airship, or buddha, or star trek, or whatever you think is cool."
I decided to go with the airship. After looking at drawings online, I had an idea in my head of how I would make this cake:
Using my football pan, I baked two cakes.
Using my mini-loaf pan, I baked two more cakes.
My idea was that I would join the two football-shaped cakes, and attach a mini-loaf cake beneath it, as the gondola.
Bamboo skewers would hold the cake together.
I would cover the cake in the kind of icing that forms a shell, in a white patchwork pattern, brush on a brown glaze, and wipe it off to 'antique' it.
With bamboo skewers and phyllo dough, I constructed wings for my airship. These were quite delicate. They dried well overnight.
Bamboo skewers would also hold the portholes onto the gondola, and I made fondant 'brass' rings as the porthole frames.
I mixed up the icing and it began thickening before I could pour it over the gondola. It came out gloppy, instead of smooth and easy.
The more I worked with it, the worse it got. I eventually gave up and reached for the spare gondola.
I covered it with icing that was white, and then sprayed it brown, once it set up. Also, instead of attaching portals that stood out, I just attached the rings directly to the gondola sides.
While that was setting up, I spread icing on the flat sides of the football cakes, pressed them together, and inserted several skewers. I immediately got to work applying the icing in a patchwork pattern on the top cake. After an hour, I tested the icing. The surface was set, but still soft underneath. After another hour, I turned the football cakes over onto waxed paper, and began covering the second side. A couple hours after that was done, I lifted the iced cake off the waxed paper. All the icing I had painstakingly applied to the cake stuck to the waxed paper! Great chunks of cake were unwilling to leave the icing behind, so they too, stayed on the waxed paper.
I put the cake in the freezer for a few minutes, to really harden the rest of the icing, and then flipped it over and applied more icing. I fashioned a wooden stand that the cake could rest on while the icing finished setting up on both sides. I carefully lifted the cake onto the stand and stepped back.
Right before my eyes, the entire cake split in two, and fell off the stand, and onto the counter!
It was horrible!
It was like my own personal Hindenburg Disaster.

There I stood in my kitchen, the broken airship in my hands, icing dripping onto the counter and the floor. Trying not to cry, I placed the two halves back together and set them on the stand. Taking my inspiration from Richard Scarry, I quickly grabbed a ball of white fondant and tinted it with "violet" and "copper". Then I kneaded for a good fifteen minutes, to get the murky color uniform throughout the fondant.
At last, I was able to make 'snakes', and roll them out with a rolling pin to make straps, that, with any luck would hold the two halves together.

In the meantime, icing dripped down the stand, and all over the counter from the broken cake.
I wrapped the fondant strips around the cake, but it would take hours to set up. The wooden stand had already gouged the cake on one side. It seemed hopeless.

Ron suggested laying the entire cake on a large platter, and finishing it from there. No, it wouldn't ever stand up, but it just might be salvageable.
So that's what I did. The real propeller that was supposed to spin, will not be able to, and the wings will be awkward to attach, but it was the best I could do without starting over.
pictured here, with rivets not yet attached

wings will be attached on location

with wings

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Pawpaw Season

We have pawpaw trees all over our property. When we first moved here, we didn't know what they were. Ron brought in several of the fruit and I was chosen to be the guinea pig to try them. Since the fruit was so sweet, I doubted it was poisonous. Also, most poisonous things in West Virginia come with warnings throughout childhood, and I'd never heard of anyone around here dying from oval-shaped green fruit that grew on trees.
Since then, we make it a point to enjoy our pawpaws during the brief time we have them, and take a couple to anyone new to the area, so they can experience them, as well.
With a shelf life of about an hour (haha!), you will never find pawpaws in the produce section of a grocery store. They are one of those things where you just have to be there, to understand it.

an inside look at a pawpaw

Wikipedia has a lot to say about the humble Pawpaw:

The pawpaw is a large edible berry, 5 to 16 cm long and 3 to 7 cm broad, weighing from 20 to 500 g, with numerous seeds; it is green when unripe, maturing to yellow or brown. It has a flavor somewhat similar to both banana and mango, varying significantly by cultivar, and has more protein than most fruits.

The fruits are quite popular, but the shelf life of the ripe fruit is almost non-existent, for it soon ripens to the point of fermentation. Those who wish to preserve the fruit for the future do so by dehydration, making it into jams or jellies, or pressure canning by using the numerical values for bananas.

In West Virginia, pawpaws are made into a native version of banana nut cake or fruit cake, and baked inside canning jars, the lids heat-sealed to keep the food for at least a year.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition depended and sometimes subsisted on pawpaws during their travels. Chilled pawpaw fruit was a favorite dessert of George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson was certainly familiar with it as he planted it at Monticello.

The seeds also have insecticidal properties. Some Native American tribes dry and powder them and apply the powder to children's heads to control lice; specialized shampoos now use compounds from pawpaw for the same purpose.

Currently, pawpaw extract is being reviewed as an alternative cancer treatment alongside conventional and approved treatments. This is not meant to replace appropriate treatments, but is being examined for acetogenins and ATP production.
Also, this weekend in (where else?) Paw Paw, WV

Paw Paw Festival,
Pawpaw, WV

Fri September, 18th - Sun September, 20th
Festival to honor the pawpaw fruit with local food,music and crafts.
Featuring Half-Lit Bluegrass

Address : 100 Festival Field

Admission Fee : Free

Paige with a pawpaw I picked yesterday from the comfort of my van while going down the driveway.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze 1952-2009

(Click captions for video)

Harrison's Art

The below pics were all done with a mouse, in Paint.

What Did I Eat?
Marilyn, our kitten

Larry the Cucumber, martial arts mode

Ghost Rider
"All their souls? A thousand souls to burn. Look into my eyes. Your souls are stained with the blood of the innocent. Feel their pain."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Let's Goooooooooooooo


Start of another WVU Football Season.
We took the convertible and parked in the same yard owned by the same guy as always. Ron had forgotten to get cash, so we paid the guy in ones and quarters scraped the bottom of my purse. I was impressed to find so much money in there! I'd been rich, and not even known it!

WVU has rules about what can and cannot be brought into the stadium. They will search the bags next to giant trash cans, and make fans throw away any items that are not allowed in the stadium.
The bag I pack is heavy, with bottled water, cans of soda, pepperoni rolls, etc, so Ron carries it from the car up the hill to the stadium. After getting searched a few times, he has learned to always give the bag to me, when we reach this checkpoint. I hold the bag open in front of me, bending forward slightly, and the guy barely glances into it and says, "Enjoy the game."
"You always get through without a problem." Ron commented.

"That's because I have huge... tracts of land." I replied.

"Yeah, he wasn't looking in the bag!"

Hey, gotta love the ol' Bend and Snap!

It's very crowded, and I'm pretty short, so it's easy to get separated walking through the concourse. Fortunately, all I have to do is look for a big guy in a bright gold shirt and blue ballcap.
Very easy to spot!

Blue & Gold. Here we are after getting to our seats. Please note how I sit so that Ron shades me.

The band leaving, and the Mountaineers arriving.

This pic was taken by some drunk girls fans who had the nerve to squish past us to get to their seats after the kick-off, but since they offered to take our picture, I couldn't be too upset. You can tell what Ron was looking at by the reflection in his sunglasses.

First Down, West Virginia!

These two ladies are adorable. They come to all the games and share thermos beverages. They are accessorized to the teeth with WVU earrings, necklaces, charm bracelets, fingernail decals, socks, and fanny packs.

First Down, West Viginia!

Why are the players standing around? The guy in the red shirt. The "tv time-out" guy. Does the red shirt make him expendable? If they would tackle this guy, the game could continue!

I do not know his name. We've always just called him "The Kid". Since he was about nine, or so, we've seen him through learning the rules, players and positions, to his voice cracking when he shouted "Let's go, D!".
Last year, he sported diamond studs in his ears, expensive sneakers, gold chains, and low, baggy jeans.
This year, the studs are gone, he's down to one gold cross, his jeans were normal, and look!- facial hair!

First Down, West Virginia!

Half-time show. Space tv/ movie theme. Star Trek, ET, and ... Star Trek. I think my 'red shirt guy' idea might work!

Yeah, that's a Mountaineer fan in a kilt.

You all know I love a guy in a kilt. But... this guy needs better gays, because, damn!
Is it the mustache? Maybe it's the hat?
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be... whatever this is.

This guy's 'blue' stayed on even though the rest of us were sweating buckets. I shudder to think what products were required to get it off later.

The cutest Mountaineer fan in the stadium.

Country Roads. Sweaty, burnt to a crisp, and happy.

Final score: 33-20.