Melting Pot


Dear anyone with loads of money who enjoys telling people “Money can’t buy happiness”: Please, give me your money and allow me to prove you wrong. Call it scientific research.

I am currently nursing a stress induced migraine. Why? Because modern plumbing is simultaneously a blessing and a curse, that is why. I don’t know what is going on with my house but the plumbing issues just keep on getting worse with time. Started out harmlessly enough very shortly after I moved in: a slow drain here and there, minor backup there – a dose of drano each time and it seemed to fix it. More recently a backed up kitchen sink that required a different method of clearing but still DIY thanks to J. Now, nothing in my house involving plumbing is usable because EVERYTHING gurgles, backs up, and/or leaks. EVERYTHING. I’m at J’ s to do laundry while I give my sinks etc time to drain out as much as possible before attempting once more to clear them out and get things functional again. He is out of town so I am on my own to deal with it. Which I hate. Having a man to deal with stuff is just… better. 

Between the plumbing issues, the incessant stank that the previous tenants left behind that NOTHING gets rid of (thought I had it recently when I cleaned the A.C. filters. Nope. Stench came back. Took a couple days, but it came back.), the probably perpetually unfinished state of things, the frustration of not being able to find work, and the neighborhood… oh lord, the neighborhood. Sunday I had been at J’s and left for home an hour or so earlier than I had planned to. Turned out to be a good thing as about the time I would have been coming home had I left when I planned to, I was instead home and inside already when roughly 20 guys were out in the street yelling and fighting. Had I only then been arriving home, they would have been blocking my ability to get to my driveway, regardless of which route I could have taken. Their mannerisms showed pride in their actions, and they seemed to genuinely enjoy it all. Disgusting, truly. I had spent the weekend binge watching a crime drama then come home to be reminded people ARE that fucked up in the real world and I live where I am smack in the middle of that kind of nonsense… I. Can’t. Take. It. 

Until next time. xoxo 

In The Kitchen, Recipes

Sunday Sweets

While they say you learn something new every day, I am not sure I believe it is EVERY day. Often, to be sure. But I feel like, once school is behind you anyway, the literally every day thing may not necessarily continue to apply. 

Today happened to be a learn something new day for me. I learned that you can make homemade “corn syrup”. I wanted something sweet, but not chocolate. I decided on hard caramels. I had all but one ingredient: light corn syrup. I didn’t want to go to the store for that one little thing. So I consulted the internet to find out just how necessary the corn syrup is. In the past I have made hard caramel with just sugar and water, so I know it works. But I wanted to make the creamier version of the candy this time and was not sure if simply omitting the corn syrup would still work or not. 

I found no definitive answer on that front (though I am inclined to say the corn syrup is not totally necessary, I could be wrong), but I did find that you can make a homemade substitute called invert syrup, and while it requires some time and patience, it couldn’t be easier to do! I even managed it – and the subsequent caramels – without a candy thermometer by using the drop test method but the less fearless out there may want to invest in the candy thermometer. (I will be getting one from J at some point that he has no use for, cause some things I won’t chance it, but hard candy is usually simple enough to just do the drop test to check if it is done or not.) 

The invert syrup requires only three ingredients: 

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup water

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

All you have to do is combine all the ingredients in a heavy saucepan and place it over medium heat. Stir the mixture constantly until it comes to a boil, then wash down the sides of the pan with a damp pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals that may be present. I know the science behind this, I just forget the specific terminology but the gist of it is when making candy, undissolved sugar getting into this sort of sugar syrup mixture at this point will make for less than desirable results. I speak from experience. So, just trust me when I say to not skip this step, tempting though it may be to do so. Place the candy thermometer in and let it boil without stirring until it reaches 230°F. Remove the pan from the heat and let the syrup cool to room temperature. It is now ready to use. Store any leftovers in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. 

I saw no mention of the shelf life on this but I’d imagine it ought to last a good while. I love knowing this recipe now, as corn syrup is not something I tend to keep on hand. I do however keep sugar and cream of tartar on hand. This is going to be so handy, being able to just make my own “corn syrup” when I spontaneously decide to make something that requires it! It looks and tastes just like the Karo light corn syrup, and of course, functions like it in recipes. 

Once the syrup had cooled, I moved on to making my caramels. Pardon my lazy photography, at this point I’ve had a very long day, and I’ve been dealing with insomina the past week or so, and am exhausted. Taking time to do anything more than this for pictures for this post simply is not happening. 

I had planned to make the recipe a second time just to get a good feel for it, then share. Unfortunately I had only bookmarked the recipe on my phone’s browser. I was having some problems with my phone that required a factory reset to fix. Silly me, I thought using the stock browser whilst logged in to my Samsung account would, oh, I dunno… save my bookmarks so I would not lose them in the event of a factory reset or a new device. Apparently being logged into the browser with Samsung means NOTHING because my bookmarks are all gone. If there is a way to get them back it’s buried in some obscure location in the settings that I cannot find. I tried just searching the internet for the recipe again  (as well as a butterscotch recipe I was really excited to try out) but while of course I can find plenty of others, I can’t find the same ones again. Figures. 

 I forgot to grease my wax paper so they all stuck. Whoops. I would normally use parchment paper but don’t have any. Popping these into the freezer for a while helps loosen them though so all is not lost. Just, next time I really need to remember to grease the wax paper if I am still without parchment paper. Actually what I really want to do is get some candy molds. But we’ll see. My beloved craft store back in Pittsburgh has an awesome selection of candy making supplies. Maybe I’ll ask my dad to take a look for some molds the next time he is in the vicinity of the store. 

I stuck lollipop sticks into some of them, just for fun. I’ve been wanting lollipops lately for some reason. I need some good round lollipop molds, too. Ok, don’t need them. Just want them. Same difference right? 😅

Until next time. xoxo

Tuesday Tunes

Tuesday Tunes

I actually discovered this song due to the official video being shown on youtube as an ad. Normally I skip an ad as soon as the skip button is activated but at the time i was preoccupied with something else so just let it play and I ended up loving the song. When the live acoustic version was uploaded I was curious what this girl sounds like minus the bells and whistles of a production studio. I was pleasantly surprised that she’s actually very talented and the live version is wonderful. 

As a bonus video this week, here is the official video for the song, as well. Seems fair to include it, since it is what introduced me to this talented young lady’s music. And I have to say the concept of the video is fantastic and matches the lyric meaning so perfectly, it’s definitely worth watching. 

Crafts, Thursday Things

Thursday Things

My shoulder feels ok at times but is often still hurting. It kept me awake much of the night last night. I was sure I had brought a heating pad with me when I moved but I’ve been unable to find it. So this morning, after a painful and nearly sleepless night, I went to the store to get a new one. It’ll be going back to the store as soon as I feel up to venturing out again, probably some time tomorrow. Unless I decide it is sufficient for other aches and pains despite not working for the current shoulder pain. I had the heat set on high for half an hour and it was only slightly warm, nowhere near warm enough to help. I read some reviews online for the same one as well as each of the others that are currently on the local store shelves, and they ALL have negative reviews saying they don’t get warm enough to be helpful. So I don’t know if I will try another one or not – seems like a gamble on whether or not it’ll actually heat up enough to help that I’m likely to lose, based on the reviews I’ve read. 

I decided to try making a homemade heating pad. I had all the supplies needed – thread, cotton fabric, and rice (of which I did buy more while at the store this morning, cause I didn’t want to be left without rice for the intended use of food lol). I ironed my fabric then just draped it over my shoulder to determine the size I wanted, then ironed the fold for a crisp crease there and cut off the excess length. Then I sewed up the two sides from the folded edge to the open edge, trimmed down the seams as, then sewed across the final open edge, leaving a couple inches in the middle open. I flipped the little pocket of fabric right side out, pushing out the corners, and again ironed the seams for nice crisp lines. Then I filled the bag with rice. I wasn’t sure how much to use so just had to wing it. I ended up putting a full 2 pound bag of rice in (finished size is about 7 x 8 inches). Then I sewed up the remaining open bit, and it was done.

I’m not sure how long it is meant to be reusable, but I’d imgine as long as it stays dry it should last a good long while. I’ve found in my microwave one to one and a half minutes gets it nice and hot. It will hold enough heat to help ease the shoulder pain for about 15 minutes or so, then it needs reheated. Heating it up longer makes it too hot to use. Though you could wrap it in a towel, which might help it retain the heat longer as well as then keeping the very hot pouch from being too hot against your skin – I’ll have to try that later but for now I have some other stuff I need to do so am just placing it directly against my skin as is.

Rascal is fussing wanting outside so I’m off to take the dogs out then need to get to some other tasks for the day. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot, Whatever Wednesday

Whatever Wednesday

My kitchen sink is functional again! J came over yesterday. It took two rounds of a sulfuric acid drain opener he got, but it did what drano could not. Thank goodness. I never thought I’d be happy to wash dishes. But I sure am, now!

The weather is cooling down now and the leaves have started changing and falling from the trees. The squirrels are busier than ever, which makes outings with the dogs a challenge as they both want to go after the squirrels especially Princess. Rascal mostly behaves herself, she’ll pull on her leash a bit and maybe make some small noises but she tends to remain reasonably calm though she’s internally very excited. Princess on the other hand starts pulling very hard on her leash, jumping and barking like crazy. And the insane squirrels around here, for the most part, do NOT run and hide but sit and taunt which just riles her up even more.

I wanted to do a cute, cartoony Halloween picture. I thought over all the options and knew just what I wanted to do. I will need to redo it as I struggled a lot with the facial features for some reason, particularly the mouth, and all the erasing made that area look a bit wonky in the final picture. So I will be tracing over it to redo it so that area will look better. I’ll put more effort into the coloring on the new one once I get to it as well. But even with the issues I had with it I’m pretty pleased. I think it definitely fits the bill for being a cute, cartoony Halloween picture. Even if it’s not quite how I had pictured it in my head. I never can get drawings translated properly from my head to paper…

I have been playing around with my brownie recipe, as I no longer care for the original version. I think I’ve about perfected it for my brownie preferences now but I need to give it another go to be sure. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks I can share. It’s been a LONG time since I have done any food posts or shared one of my own recipes here vs linking to someone else’s recipe. I just don’t really bake all that much anymore and the bulk of my cooking is nothing that needs a recipe either (I mean, pasta and garlic bread… kinda simple…) and I’ve been eating cereal or sandwiches as meals more often than actually cooking anyway. I only have myself to cook for and I generally don’t like leftovers, and even the leftovers I do like I tire of after a day or two, so it’s easier to just have cereal or something than to put effort into cooking a proper meal. And all that adds up to when it comes to the blog, I just don’t have the content to do food posts these days. Maybe that’ll change at some point. But for now, food/recipe posts will be a rarity. 

With that in mind I have a non-food idea I would like to work on. Thinking of a simple knit project for the past couple days and I’m wondering if, unlike translating my drawing ideas to paper, I can translate it to yarn with success. So I’m off to poke through my stitch dictionaries and see if I can come up with something. 

Until next time. xoxo

Art, Melting Pot, Saturday Somethings

Saturday Somethings

I have a mountain of dirty dishes I need to hand wash but I really don’t want to. My kitchen sink is clogged up, so my dishwasher is out of commission, and I have to hand wash things in the bathroom. Which is cumbersome and annoying. I’ve tried my best to fix the problem on my own – aka I dumped a bottle of drano and let it do its thing, but it didn’t help. I watched a video on youtube that made me think I MIGHT stand a chance of doing a little something under the sink to possibly fix it. Then I realized what I have is different than dude in the video and what I have I am not about to touch. I was feeling desparate for a functional kitchen sink this morning so did the only other thing I could think of: I got the plunger out. All that resulted in was me somehow injuring my shoulder, but the sink is still just as clogged as it was before. This is why when something needs fixing/done around the house I ask a man to do it. If I try to do it myself I either hurt myself, make the problem worse, or both. 

Now as I sit with generic icy hot cream on my shoulder  (and not helping much, but I can’t find my heating pad so it’s the best I can do for now) and as usual listening to music that is coming from across the street, I can’t help but think how much I just want to go back to bed. But my sleep schedule is already out of whack thanks to insomnia (currently running on about 3 hours of sleep), so I best stay awake. 

Princess decided to roll in something stinky this morning, then she ate whatever it was before I had a chance to get her away from it. Dogs are awesome but they sure can be gross sometimes. I immediately gave her a bath once back inside. Then Rascal got one too. They were both overdue anyway so I figured if I had to bathe one of them, may as well tackle getting both of them bathed so it’d be done.

I finished a new drawing last night that I am fairly pleased with. I should have waited till today to finish it as when coloring it in my wrists did get tired and maybe it’s just me but I can absolutely tell which part was colored first and what waa colored with a tired wrist. But I lack patience and really wanted to see it done. 

The quote is from one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite 90’s bands, Sugar Ray. I considered this one for the next Tuesday Tunes, but I’ll throw it in this post instead as there’s another song I want to share on Tuesday. 

I hope y’all are having a better weekend than I am so far. 

Until next time. xoxo