Friday, September 30, 2011

The First Ever Crafty Friday

Right, Leah, 'cause you've never ever ever done a craft before on a Friday.

When deciding which topic I should cover on Fridays, there were a lot of things that sounded better than "Crafty Friday", but as with Thursday, I went for quality of content over titular alliteration. Rather than review pineapples and watermelon every Fruity Friday, or tell everyone how much I love scarves every Fashion Friday, I decided to go with something I know much better than fruit, fashion, or Feng shui.

As with most of this week, I'm going with something I did some time ago. I've been busy doing things like applying for jobs and beating Wii games lately and haven't had time for crafts or baking (Not true: I made a pie). :)

This week, I'm discussing t-shirt headbands. As you'll soon discover, making things out of old t-shirts is a great interest of mine. I think t-shirt fabric is really nice and it's stretchy so you can do so much with it. I found this idea originally on Cut Out + Keep, which is my favorite craft website. (You can search by ingredient, finished product, etc. A lot of the projects are just pictures, but if you find one with a "How-To" banner, there'll be directions... sometimes in understandable English.) I like to go to Cut Out + Keep for ideas, mostly. While looking around at some headband ideas, I came across this one. While she used denim, ribbon, and t-shirt for hers, I had a ton of t-shirt scraps leftover from my Christmas scarf extravaganza (that's probably another week's story), so I just used t-shirt. This gave me a less scruffy, more homogeneous look.

Here's a picture of the first one I made:

I actually did have some elastic, and it was really thin elastic (1/8" maybe?), so I took a piece twice as long as I needed and then stitched both ends to one side and looped the thread through the other side to stitch it on. I also made it longer than halfway around my head. I don't have great lengths of hair to hide the details of my headbands, so I went nearly to the bottom of my ears. You can just see the knot in the picture.

Whatever fabric you use, make sure to use a piece far longer than you want the finished product to be! I've made a few of these since and they've been too small for my head because the braided part wasn't long enough.

Happy Crafting!

Love and T-shirts,

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Tasty Thursday

Okay, I think it's ridiculous when people do things like "Thrifty Tuesday" when it'd be just as easy to do "Thrifty Thursday" and then you'd actually have the same beginning sound. So you might ask why I'm doing a "Tasty Thursday" and not a "Tasty Tuesday". Good question. I asked myself the same thing. However, "YouTube Tuesday" has more ring to it than "YouTube Thursday" so I decided to just go with Thursday for the Tasty thing.

I thought about doing a Thrifty Thursday instead of a Tasty Thursday, but I think you'd get bored of hearing about our extreme couponing after a few weeks. (We got 4 free packets of taco seasoning this week! And a box of cookies for 54 cents!)

So, I bring you Tasty Thursday, where I review a good recipe I've tried. The rules are that it has to be good (or at least, I have to think so) and I have to have actually made it. And it has to be a recipe.

Today, I'm reviewing Orange Meringue Pie, which is actually something I made quite some time ago, but it is tasty. You hear a lot about Lemon Meringue pie and Key Lime pie (which is sort of a Meringue...not really), but you don't hear about Orange Meringue. But it's good!

Here's the recipe:

Orange Meringue Pie:

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 and 1/2 cups orange juice
3 egg yolks - beaten
1 T butter

3 egg whites
6 T sugar

and 1 Pastry Shell

Combine sugar, cornstarch, and orange juice until smooth. Boil, cook, and stir for 2 minutes (until thick). Reduce heat - cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in egg yolks. Bring to gentle boil - cook and stir for 2 minutes. Stir in butter and keep warm.

Beat egg whites until foamy. Beat in sugar 1 T at a time until holds stiff peaks.

Pour filling into shell, spread meringue over top.

Bake for 15 minutes at 375 degrees (peaks should be just golden brown). Cool for 1 hour on a wire rack and then for 3 hours in the fridge.

===end recipe===

Pretty easy. A lot of cooking and stirring for 2 minutes, but not too difficult, really.

A few hints and tips from Leah (actually just one): actually let it cool. My family was so excited to eat it that it only cooled for about 30 minutes on a wire rack and then another 45 min-1hr in the fridge. The pie was still a little warm, then, which was kind of weird, and the sugar beaded up and made drops on top of the meringue. It was pretty, but not what it's supposed to do!


Love and Meringue,

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Wednesday Weird

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the first edition of the Wednesday Weird, in which Leah wonders about something really weird she saw this week.

Welcome to Cedar Springs, MI, where we celebrate underwear. No, I'm serious, we celebrate underwear. Our street poles have metal red flannel pants hanging from them. And this weekend is the Red Flannel Festival, complete with a parade, a PowderPuff football game, and a fireworks show. Don't forget the flapjack breakfast and the Bingo tournament! And then, there's a pageant. And a local girl gets named Red Flannel Queen.

I actually met this year's Red Flannel Queen and a member of the court at the Cedar Springs Meijer this week. Caleb knows the member from camp and she and the Queen were out shopping for candy bars. They're both lovely young women, but I can't help but think it's a little weird to be named Queen of Lumberjack Underwear.

Oh oh! I just read that there's going to be a Cornhole Tournament and a Tractor Pull!!!

In all honesty, I guess if you're going to be unique and celebrate underwear, I'd rather you celebrate red flannel than tighty-whiteys. That would just look really awkward on the street poles.

I'm sure next week's Wednesday Weird will be some sort of review... or maybe I'll skip the Tractor and Engine show and stay home all weekend so I don't get arrested for not wearing red! (Fact! If you're caught not wearing red, and you don't have your $1 bail, you will spend the day in jail.)

To check out the festival for yourself, click here.

Love and Underwear.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

It's a YouTube Tuesday

Let's face it: YouTube is a font of idiocy and hilarity. There are a million stupid videos and some occasional gems. Tuesdays are going to be YouTube days, either a review of some popular video, or just one of my favorite ones.

Today is my all-time favorite YouTube video. This girl is adorable.

Seriously. I love this girl. My favorite moments:
"It's kind of like a garage sale except with robots."
"The shiny guy always worries."
"He's teaching Luke to use his little light-up sword."
"But don't talk back to Darth Vader - he'll getcha!"

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I do. :)

Love and StarWars,

P.S. Guess whose birthday it is today. That's right! Google! And Lil Wayne! And Avril Lavigne! And me!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jobless Plans: The Monday Rant

Dear Reader(s),

I'm going to try something new for a while, maybe forever (not). Since I have no job right now, I have a lot of time on my hands. Keeping the apartment clean, cooking, changing my name on everything, and even job-hunting don't fill up all of my time. Therefore, I'm taking up a new blog project - and it's DAILY. Okay, probably just weekdays, unless I do a Saturday or Sunday Special (spectacular that both weekend days start with the same letter as "Special"). I kind of want to do themed days, like some houses have a "Taco Tuesday" - except not that one, because it's really hard to blog about tacos every week. After a couple months, I'd need a new Tuesday.

So, I'm working on finding things that I can do every week for an undetermined period of time, and this first week is kind of experimental. Actually, the whole shebang is experimental.

Therefore, allow me to present the first ever (from this blog, at least)....


But Leah, why rant on Mondays? Isn't Monday bad enough in most people's minds already without you adding more complaining?

I understand your concerns, and believe me, your call is very important to me. My hope is that my rants will be funny enough that you will actually feel cheered up on Monday, ready to take on the man and survive your job with more than your usual alacrity.

Please see below for "actual" blog post (those quotations are unnecessary, but I'm leaving them in because I think it's funny) and not this letter.



The Monday Rant

This week's rant is a complaint about complainers.

I rant a lot and I tend to enjoy it sometimes. A lot of other people do, too, but here's my problem with them: they're not funny. Like, if you're going to waste my time by whining at me, at least have a joke in there somewhere. You take yourself far too seriously.

(Since 'farther' refers to distance, and 'further' is metaphorical-ish, when one says, "You take yourself far too seriously", I feel like one should say instead, "You take yourself fur too seriously." But I guess that's wrong.)

So, this is a rant against all those people who whine about Facebook publicizing all their information. It's a social network; that's what it's supposed to do. Of course, I guess the joke's on me, because I don't have to read what you say, and yet I do, and then I complain about it.

This is a rant against all those people who complain about the cost of cigarettes instead of just quitting.

This is a rant against all those people who complain about who's in office when they didn't vote. (That's the only reason I vote, actually, so I have a right to complain. Not really.)

This is a rant against people who complain when the Lions lose. Get over it already.

This is a rant against people who complain about the weather. Like complaining is going to do anything.

Okay, that's really all I have to say. If you're going to complain, at least tell me a knock-knock joke afterwards!

Knock, Knock.
Who's there?
Cash who?
No thanks, but I'd love some peanuts.

Monday Rant - Over and Out,

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I'm Married

I know it's been two months, but this time I'm not going to apologize profusely. Just maybe a little bit. Because I've been really busy.

So today, I'm going to blog about wedding presents and some hints and helps for gift-givers. I'll try not to be too specific in my constructive criticisms, although the four people who may actually read this wouldn't be included in that anyway. And I guess I shouldn't say 'criticicms' because that makes me sound really really spoiled, but there is such a thing as a tacky gift.

First of all, if you are giving one of those framed Bible verse things to people, make sure that the quote is actually from the Bible. What's that you say? Oh, it has a reference? Still check. Because I bet that's not what Genesis 2:18 actually says.

However, in the same vein, I should say that we got a really cute one that says, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And it's not gaudy or tacky. It's really classy and we love it.

Secondly, before you buy a picture frame or photo album for a couple, ask yourself this question: Are these the types of people to enjoy having a lot of picture frames all over their walls? If you're not sure, go ahead and get them one frame. Because believe me, 4 in 1 gift was a bit overkill. And we got so many of them!

Again, we did get some really cute ones, including one that holds 6 pictures and it says, "Faith, Hope, and Love."

Something that made us laugh, but is really unfortunately unavoidable for the gift-giver, is how many duplicate cards we received. There was actually one card that we received 4 or 5 different copies of! I guess you can avoid this by making a card, but wedding cards are so cute and so hard to make! (Unless you're my Auntie Rachel or her girls, because they made the world's cutest cards.)

Another good thing to consider is any allergies. For example, if you want to make an afghan for the couple, and you have a cat, please consider whether or not they are allergic. Because the new husband may just have to rush a certain bag from the room so the new wife can breathe. (I still have to wash that, too. Don't get me wrong, it's a beautiful blanket.)

At this point, I realize I sound like a completely cynical, spoiled brat. So let me tell you about some of the wonderful things we received.

My aunt and uncle in Texas bought us a KitchenAid mixer. I was raised with a stand mixer in the house, but Caleb wasn't and thinks I'm kind of a wuss for wanting one so badly. But I made cookies here the other day before we got the mixer and it took so much longer and was so much messier! I'm so so so grateful to them! I hardly dared hope that someone would buy it for us.

One friend bought us the down comforter for which we were registered. This was another thing we didn't really think anyone would get us, or that maybe it would be a group gift. It's really nice!

My brother bought us a blender that is not only really nice, but it looks like it might go into orbit at any moment. :)

And something I wasn't expecting to love as much as I am is all of our cute towels. We have a towel rack right above the sink (where many people have a window) and I greatly enjoy the aesthetic beauty of an attractive towel. My favorite so far is the bird towel that I think Auntie Rachel got us. Our kitchen is an orangey-red and the blue and green of the towel shows up so brightly. I know it's just a little thing, but it's so cozy and homey.

I guess that's all for now. I'm going to go figure out how to wash the cat dander out of this afghan.

Love and Gratitude,
Leah Joy