Monday, July 29, 2013

the august break

You've probably noticed there's not a whole lot of stuff going on around here these days. That's mostly because I've been feeling extremely uninspired and unmotivated to blog these last couple of months. Nothing has been exciting me and I've been feeling like there's no reason to even bother.

So I suppose it's kind of silly to participate in the August Break when I've already half taken a break, but I thought that having a specific goal and planned target every day might motivate and inspire me to take pictures and come up with crafts again.

If you want to know more about the August Break, go and check out Susannah Conway's blog where you can read all about it, sign up, get the list of daily photo prompts (which I'm going to try my best to follow), and download badges, pictures, and more.

You'll see me posting more often as I follow the photo-a-day challenge (which it is for me, anyway) starting August 1!

(I think I'm already a little excited about this.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

friday fixations

{my hoya plant} I've seen this plant flower before, sure; I've got lots of pictures of it. But this year, I don't know what I did differently. There's at least 10 of these flower clusters and more keep sprouting. I don't think I've ever seen it flower with more than two clusters at a time. The unfortunate part is that when they first open, the stink is pretty overwhelming and what's even more unfortunate is that it just happens to live in our bedroom (and obviously super likes it in there). This particular cluster must've opened some time last night because it actually woke me up this morning with the stench (I keep reading that they have a pleasant smell so maybe it's just me, but the flowers smell really musty and heavy -- it's a hard scent to describe but it's definitely not pleasant). I'm super sad about it because they're so pretty, but I think I have to cut them all off (after I take a bazillion more pictures of it, naturally).

{giant paper peonies} I want one of these on the wall in the bedroom (at least it's fragrance free). (Also who in their right mind would use these as an actual pinata?! Also I'm so sick of pinatas! No more pinata tutorials, okay, internet?)

{lazy wives club} This is the perfect pj shirt.

{it's it sandwich} These sound super delish.

{guide to talking to introverts} I am one and this is pretty darned accurate.

{cauliflower alfredo sauce} Like, what can't you do with cauliflower?!

{ceramic budgies} I stumbled on these sweet little guys and would love to have one (to add to my ever-growing bird collection that's getting crazy out of control and even extends into the yard now with a blue heron water fountain -- it was on clearance and I can't pass up birds AND clearance. I'm only human.)

Friday, July 19, 2013

friday fixations: summer tunes

{summer music} This mix is pretty good. I downloaded almost all of the tracks, so I figured I might as well just link you to it directly.

{solange} I'd listen to this on constant repeat, but I'm scared I'd get sick of it too quickly so I don't.

{the kinks} An oldie, but a goodie.

{alt-j} This song is good in all its incarnations.

{beck} I'll always love everything Beck does.

{lorde} Anything with finger snaps (or an equivalent sound) immediately gets on my playlists.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

freshly squeezed lemonade

Have you ever had a cold in the summertime? Thanks to mom (I've got to rub it in), I am currently experiencing my first summer cough and cold. 

It's wonderful.

When the weather is 25, I'm in the midst of a sweating fever. When it's raining, I'm in the house freezing under a pile of blankets. And while all my instincts keep telling me to eat soup and drink hot liquids, I just can't. 

I won't. It's summer. The fever's bad enough without also having to endure the heat of outside with a mug of hot lemon juice and honey in my hands.

That's when I decided to make lemonade. That's got the benefits of hot water with lemon and honey, right?

Plus mom gave me? lent me? her super amazing juicer so why not put it to good use?

You don't necessarily have to own a juicer, but it helps if you drink a lot of juice. I do have one of those glass hand reamers that will definitely do the job if you're a casual citrus drinker. But now that we're both sick, we've been going through a lot of lemons and I really couldn't imagine juicing them all by hand. That said, the effort is still totally worth it (hey, there's still some effort for me! I've got to cut up all the lemons and clean the machine's parts after!). There's just something that makes freshly squeezed juice so much better than store-bought. I don't know what it is, but you really can taste the difference. Plus there's pulp. Mmmm pulp...

makes about 2 1/2 L

1 3/4 cups of white sugar
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
8 cups of water

To make things even easier, I boil water in my tea kettle and use that to make a simple syrup instead of boiling it in a pot on the stove. It IS summer, after all, and I don't really want to turn the stove on unless I have to.

Once the water's boiled, add 1 cup of the boiling water to the sugar and stir until dissolved to make the simple syrup. If it doesn't all dissolve, you can add more water if you want, just keep track of the amount you use. I don't wait for this to cool, but you can.

To a pitcher, add the lemon juice, the 7 remaining cups of water, and the simple syrup. Enjoy right now (it'll be about room temperature if you didn't cool the syrup) or cool in the fridge and enjoy once sufficiently chilled for your tastes.

{note} To make this more cough-friendly, I like to substitute the white sugar for honey. In my sicky mix, I only use about a cup of honey which produces a very tart but very accurate representation of what I usually drink for a sore throat (hot water, lemon juice, and a teaspoon or two of honey).

{interesting} I've also made a sugar-free version using equal amounts of Splenda in place of the white sugar. You don't have to go through the motions of boiling water for this version, just dump everything together and mix. Just be aware that it takes a couple hours of stewing for the Splenda to sweeten the lemonade appropriately.

{good to know} I usually grab about 6 lemons and juice them all at once. This nets me about 2 1/2 - 3 cups of lemon juice. So 6 lemons will make about two pitchers of lemonade.

Monday, July 1, 2013

july desktop

Happy Canada day and happy July first! I made this silly little ice cream pattern this month. I hope you like it!

Due to a little bit of a mix-up on my end, I won't be sharing photos through Flickr anymore. I'm going to (slowly) go through my archives and fix the links (if I can) to any previous desktops and photos, but for the most part, you won't be able to access anything before last month.