Making stuff! I love making stuff, as you know. This time of year, I’m gearing up to make ALL THE THINGS. With gifting holidays approaching, plus secret pal swaps, and cool damp weather making me want to curl up with yarn or whatever. Add to that the resurrection of my writing muse, and of course the fact that I have my life back now, and my creative juices are flowing like maple sap!
I’m discovering new ways to craft, or rediscovering old ways I hadn’t pursued in a while. The Embrace Hope cross-stitch that I’ve been banging at off and on for over a year is still on the couch, and I’ve stitched on it a bit, but I’ve dug out my bag of floss, dusted off a stack of Aida cloth, and gone hunting up new patterns (and in one case, just fell in love with a graphic and ran it through a program to turn it into a pattern…needs like 2 dozen different colors, though. Eep. Some online buddies have introduced me to a method of graphing the fabric with fishing line, of all things, to decrease the amount of counting and counting and STILL being off by like a square or two and not finding it until the thing is half done, then either crying and going on with the mistake, or shredding hours of work and starting over. I’m more a product crafter than a process one, in many cases.)
Anyway, I did finish one small piece of stitchery, which I will not post here now, as it is a Christmas gift, and I don’t want the recipient to see it. It’s the kind of gift that would be very hard to pass off as going to somebody else. LOL
Making stuff in the kitchen is another thing I do much more of in cooler weather, and always have. Fall is time to pumpkin, and I’m no exception. Behold pumpkin bread!
It’s another of my insanely easy recipes…a box of spice cake mix and a can of pumpkin. Yep. That’s it. Super moist and tasty. So moist, in fact, that I keep it in the fridge in a bag so it’s won’t mold before it gets eaten.
For the past few years, fall has also been time to make refrigerator jam from my little fig tree. This year was a weird one. Until June (I may have mentioned this) I thought the tree was dead. Of course, I’ve written it off two or three times before, and it always rises. That little stick has more lives than a bag of cats. Anyway, it is bearing, but not much. I was thinking about buying a big fig or two at the grocery, so I have enough to make a batch. But the other day at the local international market (more on that in a minute) I found some gorgeous purple plums, and they collided in my brain with a knitting friend who had posted about spicy jams, and my little jalapeno plant out back that has been bearing like crazy all year. End result: a trial batch of spiced plum-pepper jam. I made it like the fig jam, but diced up a couple of peppers (without the pith or seeds, the hottest parts). It smelled nice while cooking, but a little bit bland; so I tossed in some cinnamon and a few shakes of pico fruta, a spice blend from Penzey’s that’s designed for fruit. It turned out lovely, and now I can’t wait to mix up some scratch biscuits and slather them!
Now, about the international market. I love this place. It’s down the road in an old converted department store building, and has stuff from all over the world. I actually went in looking for the Mexican guacamole-flavored corn chips that I like but that are darn hard to find, and a bamboo steamer and some rice crackers for my Switch Witch secret pal who loves Japanese stuff. I left with…more than that. Besides the plums, I got a Korean sweet roll (stuffed with coconut, and boy, was that good breakfast eating the next morning!), some sultana biscuits (mildly sweet crackers with raisins, which I’d wanted to try for ages. They’re perfect with a cup of hot tea, I’ve found), a backup jar of Vietnamese pho seasoning (for awesome beef noodle soup. I keep a basil plant in the house just so I can put fresh leaves on top when I make it) and a cup of green tea ice cream, besides some other oddities to try. Sometimes, even though I am pinching pennies, I have to treat myself.
Speaking of oddities! I found this amazing little store, Hail Dark Aesthetics, near my cousin’s old house in east Nashville, that deals in nothing but the odd. Weird taxidermy, antique funeral fittings, strange books, vintage clothing, funky jewelry. I could have spent half the day in there.
I managed to just leave with a wind chime for my Switch Witch, and a teeny air plant in a sea urchin shell for me. It’s going to get a magnet glued to its back and go up on my fridge!
Mom is doing fine, thank heavens. I went to her care plan meeting last week and the staff were quite pleased. Her weight is stable, she eats well, and compliments the food. LOL, more than I can say for her at home, sometimes. We checked her chart (well, I say we, but not me. Although I did reach for it during the meeting before I caught myself and remembered I don't work there anymore) and no further nosebleeds have been documented. I'm wondering again now if the ENT's office talked to somebody at Place K who confused the original spate of incidents with something more recent. Anyway, that's a gigantic relief. She enjoys attending musical programs and exercise classes, according to the care staff, and even plays bingo some times! I put a nice fall wreath on her door that day, but couldn't stay; she wasn't feeling well, and to be honest neither was I. The family wants to see her more as the holidays approach, and Place K will have a ton of activities between now and the end of the year, so she will stay busy. I think she is as content as it's possible for her to be, and more so than when she lived here with me. She has a whole staff of folks to interact with and dote on her, and that is right up her alley!
I’m still writing, yay me. Currently I’m into part 3 of the epic fanfic series I mentioned before. In November, all month, an event called NaNoWriMo goes on online. It’s short for National Novel Writing Month, and it encourages people who have put it off to write a long-form piece of fiction. While I don’t want to abandon my fun fanfic, I’m thinking, if time permits, I may use NaNo unofficially as a motivator to start reworking my fantasy sequel—remember, the manuscript I finally found out in the garage this past summer?
Of course, I’m also making Christmas gifts, crocheting a doll for my Switch Witch, AND, like a dingaling, I volunteered my crafty services for a charity auction. So, we will see how many hours I can stuff into one day. :D
FYI, here is the link to the charity auction. It’s run by and geared toward the Marvel comics/movies fandoms, but open to all. I know at least some of the items up for bids are not, or don’t necessarily have to be, Marvel-specific, so come on over and look around even if you aren’t part of this mad crew. All proceeds go to a group of great causes. I posted a doll, a pair of earrings, and a pair of fingerless gloves, which I will customize for the high bidders!
Next time...I probably need to stop promising more Dragon Con stories, don't I, because at this rate, it will be time for Dragon Con again before I get them posted. hehe