WIP Wednesday: It Came From the Deep October 3, 2012Posted by J. in Genius, Other People's Genius, Sticks and String.
Tags: crochet, dead pony, design, hat, hexapussy, knitting, octopus, patterns, Ravelry, Regretsy, WIP
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Here’s the deep sea critter I was working on last week. It came out even better than I had imagined it would in my head.
If there’s one thing I can say about my friend Mary, it’s that she comes up with fantastic ideas for headgear. She showed me a picture of a squid hat that someone had crocheted and asked if I could do “something like that”. Sort of a carte blanche to do with the basic idea what I will. I chose “ocean” colors and just started knitting. I kept the basic structure of a hood with a tentacle scarf, but that’s where the similarities ended. After much figuring out of things and a couple of false starts, the Hexapussy should arrive at its forever home today.
But right now, it just looks like this:
But it’s better than what it looked like a couple of days ago when I pulled on the working yarn and instead of getting a nice, single strand, I got a pile of yarn barf.
I have a feeling I’m going to become known as The Broad Who Knits Weird Hats and Crochets Dead Things. I’m not complaining. I’m just saying. Though the next project in the queue is some pretty fingerless mittens, and a cute, crocheted doll that hasn’t been disemboweled or anything, and another pair of Norwegian mittens. But then there a Cthulhu hat too, just to keep me on track, I guess.
I also have a new pattern that’s a work in progress and if all goes well and the creek don’t rise I should have it in my Ravelry pattern shop and on Etsy by the weekend. I’ll keep you posted. It’s a masterpiece of fuckery indeed, but man, are my pattern-writing skills rusty. It was like pulling teeth to get it on paper!
Oh, and speaking of patterns, it seems I always forget that I have patterns for sale on Ravelry, probably because I seldom visit there. I was looking at hat patterns the other day and found one of mine in search and it stopped me short for a minute. I was all “I knit that hat!” And then I was like, OH YEAH. *facepalm* I’ll put a handy link in the sidebar later, but today is my 14th wedding anniversary and Mr. Poops has taken the day off. After the kids are all safely off to school, we’re going out to breakfast and then home to enjoy a brief stretch of a blessedly empty house to each other’s company with no little voices interrupting.
Winnah Winnah Chicken Dinnah September 10, 2012Posted by J. in Genius, Other People's Genius.
Tags: contest, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Monday, PBS Kids, Pooh Bear, The Electric Company, topics, winner
It’s Monday morning, and that means my blog contest is officially closed and I have chosen two winners to shower with fantastic fun and prizes.
First of all, thanks so much to all the people who participated. Coming up with topics to write about is the hardest part of writing, I think. I know I’ve said before that sometimes I feel rather a lot like Pooh Bear.
First off, because you’re dying to know, the grand prize winner of this year’s Gimme Something to Write About Contest is Beeby! Her question wins both because it is near and dear to my heart, and because she sprinkled it with a dose of profanity. I do love me some sentence enhancers and applaud a dirty mouth whenever I can. She poses this topic:
PBSKids is raping my fucking childhood. For the second time, I might add. I was moderately okay with The Electric Company regurgitation because I was never big on The Electric Company as a kid anyway. But this Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood has me unable to string words together about it.
I feel you pain, Beebs. And next Monday I’m going to write at length about how children’s programming has backslid into a swirling cesspool of unoriginal and uninspired regurgitation, then I’m going out on the porch to wave my cane at some kids and tell them to get off my damned lawn. I’m also going to send you something super special to put in a place of honor, and maybe a bar of soap or some Orbit gum for your dirty, dirty whore’s mouth.
My second prize goes randomly to a name picked out of a hat. For every question, I put a name on a piece of paper, so if you posed three questions, you got entered three times. I err on the side of generosity, too, because I like you guys so very much. Last year, Gary M. got a painted wooden cut-out of a goat eating a tin can that occupies a place of pride in his hosta bed. Did he get lucky two years in a row?
Let’s find out. Drumroll, please. And the winner is…
Krysstyallanthrox! God, I hope I spelled that right. She’s an overachiever and entered 7 topics, so she pretty much stacked this part in her favor. She’s gonna get something real purty too, once she sends me her contact information at jen (dot) poops (dot) lacey (at) gmail (dot) com.
Congratulations to the big winners!
The Ghetto Barista September 8, 2012Posted by J. in Domesticity, Genius, Other People's Genius.
Tags: caffeine addiction, coffee, cold brewed, iced coffee, Pioneer Woman, summer beverage
I love this stuff.
I could drink it all day, and don’t think I haven’t.
My friend, the inimitable and inestimable Yorkie posted a link to my Facebook wall from the Pioneer Woman blog about the making of cold brewed coffee. Cold brewed, you say? What is this sorcery? Yorkie shares my love of this crack in a glass and was wondering my opinion of it. I decided to give it a try.
All I know is that from the gorgeous, slick photos, I was sure it was easy and mess-free to do and I’d have iced coffee in no time.
It was kinda easy. It was far from mess-free. And it took so long to make that I got a caffeine headache waiting for it. It was also the best goddamned iced coffee I’ve ever had that didn’t come from the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru.
I tweaked a few things, and you can be sure there will be no high-glossy photos of a pristine kitchen, a large glass dispenser with a brass spigot, or special tubs purchased from the restaurant supply store. Cheesecloth? I’m not buying cheesecloth. We roll a little differently here in the Upper Village, so I used what I had on hand. You can, too.
Here in an honest summary is how I make the Pioneer Woman’s best iced coffee in the world. Trust me, I’m not luring you in with any false sense of marthastewartness here. It gets messy and it takes awhile. Know that. But it’s worth it.
The first thing you do is simple. You dump a pound of coffee in a big container and pour two gallons of cold water over it. Right here is where I digress. That is the ratio. I use a 12-oz. bag of coffee, so I add 1 1/2 gallons of cold water. Half a pound? One-gallon. You get the idea. Some folks don’t need two gallons of iced coffee in the fridge. Sitting there. Tempting them. Luring them in with its dark, rich, beauty…
I’m sorry. Where was I?
I do this step before I go to bed. I also do this before I’m out of coffee. I mean this part. If you rely on coffee to get your brain and heart going in the morning, don’t wait to do this until you’re out of coffee. Don’t use you last bag of coffee to “give this a shot.” It’s dreadful. Trust me. Don’t starve the monkey.
I use my biggest mixing bowl, dump the coffee in and stir in the water. My bowl only holds 1.5 gallons of water, so it’s like it was meant to be. Cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. Or for 8 hours. A long time. This is not a quick project.
In the morning, you will have a lovely, thick, gritty, sludge.
Now, it needs to be strained. Gotta get all those coffee grounds out of there. There are many methods. Basically, you need something to act as a fine filter and something to hold that filter. After I posted this to my wall, people told me all the ways they do it. Cheesecloth in a strainer. Paper towels in a strainer. A doubled bed sheet put right in the container before mixing, then lifted out after steeping.
Me, I found the fastest way (because it’s all about shaving time off this step) is coffee filters. I have two tall pitchers and I set my coffee filter basket with a filter in it on top of the pitcher. I used to use my fine mesh sieve for this other pitcher but it didn’t work as well for some reason. However, just yesterday my old coffee maker went tits up so I kept the basket and now I have two. Sweet!
I use my measuring cup to scoop out a bunch of coffee making sure to get lots of grounds. I don’t know why, but the coffee strains faster if there are lots of grounds in the filter. I scoop up from the bottom so the filter is full of coffee grounds. This is also where you want to be careful. Make sure the steeped coffee with the grounds doesn’t go into the strained stuff.
Oh, the strained stuff. Black gold. Pure, strong coffee, already chilled and ready-to-drink. I don’t have a fancy decanter. I have an empty milk jug. It’s not fancy, but it does the job.
Now, to prepare it. You make it any old way you like your coffee. In lieu of having a central line put in just for my caffeine intake, I use a mason jar. Yes, it goes from a used milk jug to a canning jar for a glass. I told you, we’re not fancy folks here. I use what I have. And it’s genius. Here’s why.
Put ice in the mason jar. Add sugar. Pour in coffee. Add cream. PUT THE LID ON AND SHAKE THE FUCK OUT OF IT. Yeah, there you go. Your sugar gets mixed in completely. You can stir it in a glass until the cows come home, but you know you still get some gritty sugar through the straw at first. Tell you what, though. You shake it in a glass jar and you get the frothiest, creamiest, coldest iced coffee that has ever been though up.
Take the lid of and stick a straw in.
And once your coffee has been consumed, you can tackle the mess. I deal with sloshed over coffee, and grounds stuck to everydamnedthing. I’ve dirtied two pitchers, a measuring cup, a bowl, two coffee filter baskets and a mixing spoon. But don’t worry. I will pay my husband the dishwasher off with a cold jar of coffee.
I Never Share Needles September 6, 2012Posted by J. in Genius, Other People's Genius, Sticks and String.
Tags: contest, crafts, fiber art, friends, needle felting, new skills, wool
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I don’t have to. I have my own!
For months, I’ve been BEGGING my lovely Knittah/herbalist/shaman/holy woman/healer/librarian friend Loraine to teach me needle felting. She felts many wee, cute things.
A couple (maybe three? I dunno…) of weeks ago, she finally brought her needle-felting equipment in to Knit Club to show me how to do it. Actually, she slammed it down on the table and said, “Here. This should shut you up.”
She created a monster. I MUST FELT ALL THE THINGS.
I promptly ran to Center Harbor up to Patternworks and used my birthday gift certificate from Sistah to get myself some needle felting supplies. Twenty or so bucks later I had kit with a foam pad and four needles and a handful of wool roving. Really, that’s all you need.
Holy crap, is this fun.
So I thought I’d show you how Poops makes things. In this case, I wanted to show you my new toy, so I grabbed a plain sweater out of my Etsy bin and decided to throw a felted embellishment on it.
Here’s my tools.
First, there’s a thick, gray piece of foam and three needles. The red one is for deep felting and rough work, the green one is medium and is an all-purpose needle, and the blue one is finest and meant for finish work. I find it also works best on finer rovings.
They are dangerous. You don’t want to be needle felting while watching TV. It’s like cutting things with a sharp knife or running a saw: stop what you’re doing and THEN look up.
The sharp, barbed tips cause the fibers in the wool to cling together. They tangle, if you will and lock on to each other. But you need the fibers. You can felt any kind of wool. I have felted actual sheets of felt, knit wool, crocheted wool, but by far the most versatile thing is wool roving, or unspun yarn, if you will.
I decided to make a mushroom on the little blue sweater and chose some colors I thought would look good together.
I started with the green mushroom cap and began shaping it right on the sweater. All you do, I swear to God, is take your needle and jab at the wool. After a few jabs, it begins to stick. You can add layer and make shapes this way just by turning and shaping and poking. If you don’t believe me, look on YouTube. Search for “needle felting” and watch these sharp little needles in action. It’s amazing.
I decided to add a fourth color for the underside of the cap, a slightly darker yellow/gold/orangy-sunflower shade. For depth. It was an artistic choice.
If you look closely, you can see where I built up the green cap with layers of roving, while leaving the underside of the cap in a flat, single layer of felt. I used the needle to shape the bottom of the cap so it has a bit of a lip. It gives it depth. Nice touch, Poops. Thanks.
I used the lighter yellow to start building up the stem. I did several layers to give it a rounded look. Like a stem. You know how stems do.
I used the point of the needle to “turn the corner” at the bottom of the stem. Sort of a folding action of sorts.
Another flash of brilliant inspiration. A wee bit of the darker gold at the bottom of the stem to add to the illusion of depth. Cool, huh?
Using wee bits of red to make spots on the cap. I find twisting the roving slightly makes it easier to handle when I’m using such small bits. Then it’s more pokepokepokepokepokejabjabjabjabjab…
…until it looks like a mushroom!
Then I go upstairs and find Sugar Bear to model the sweater for me, put her in the light box and take all new pictures of the sweetly embellished blue sweater and list it on Etsy.
Ta da! Thank you, thank you very much. I’ll be here all week. *bows*
Also, just a reminder that you have until Monday to enter my contest and help me find stuff to write about. Don’t wait until the last minute! Or wait, it really doesn’t matter. But I have a bunch of really awesome–let’s call it “stuff”, shall we?–to give out as Major Awards.
Seriously. If you don’t give me a topic, I”m going to have to keep blogging about crafts.
You’ve been warned.
My Own Commercial! September 4, 2012Posted by J. in Genius, Other People's Genius, Sticks and String.
Tags: commercial, dead ponies, Etsy, Four Lights, friends, pony, video
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*sings* “Cause you got to have frieeeee–ends…”
My friend Ann made this for me. She was burning DVD’s of My Little Pony episodes for a mutual friend of ours and decided on a whim to make a commercial for my shop and include it on the discs.
I love having friends who are evil geniuses. This made my ENTIRE day. Ann, you are a rock star. And you totes get a *brohoof* for this. I’m blown away. ENJOY THIS! It’s awesome!
Ye Are the Salt of the Earth, and Sainted July 22, 2011Posted by J. in Domesticity, Other People's Genius.
Did you ever see the episode of the Vicar of Dibley where a TV show comes to Dibley to film Geraldine’s Sunday service and the verger Alice butchers the reading? She practices her reading diligently, but when Sunday comes around and she’s reading from the gigantic King James Bible with the old printing where all the s’s look like f’s, she gets confused. Here, see for yourself. It’s at about 11:45 in…
Alice: “The lesson is taken from the sixth chapter of the Song of Solomon, beginning at the second verse. [reading] Ye are the fault of the earth and fainted… sainted. God shall feel… seal your endeavours until ye fit on his right hand. Therefore fight the good fight, for his… fake, and he shall be thy fu…
Geraldine: “SUCCOR! He shall be thy succour.”
Alice Tinker: “…thy succour.”
Cracks me up every time. And when we’re being gripped by a heat wave of Biblical proportions, not much makes me chortle.
So, because it’s been so bloody hot here the past few days, we decided last night to screw the whole thing and go out to supper. It put us a tad over budget for the week but you know what? I ate a meal without wanting to puke.
It was cold as a meat locker in Chili’s which was fantastic. They brought us endless cold drinks, all the chips and salsa we could gag down, and even the kids seemed quite content to sit and enjoy the cool air.
The honey-chipotle chicken crispers were good. Very spicy and very sweet at the same time–too much for the kiddos to stand, but that was about the only thing on the plate I wanted to eat. I love salty food, but really Chili’s? I ate two fries before I couldn’t take the saltiness anymore, and I didn’t even try the corn because I could actually see the salt sparkling on it.
Lest you think I’m singling out Chili’s, this happened at the 99 the last time we ate there. I had steak tips which really didn’t need to be salty at all, and fries that were caked with salt.
It was off-putting.
What’s the deal with that? What happened to preparing a meal and letting the customer decide how much salt it needs? I’m really just sick of chain restaurants. I think all the food tastes the same, and I’ve pinpointed it to what must be a gigantic container of seasoned salt in the kitchen.
At least I know now to tell the server that I don’t want any extra salt or other seasoning applied to my food when I order. You watch: next time we go out it will the blandest meal ever.
Eh, I suppose it’s no big deal. God knows my feet appreciate the lack of salt these days. Man, when it’s hot and humid my feet swell up like two…swollen things. They never used to that, then I had Dave and WHAM. I’m Captain Edema.
Somewhere in the world there’s an 80-year-old woman walking around with my ankles. Probably eating salt with no repercussions, too. Fucker.
But, in the category of Salt of the Earth, there are great kindnesses abounding. Did I mention how fucktastically hot it’s been here for the past couple of days? When I got up this morning it was 91 degrees in my living room. I shit you not. You can have all the fans a’turnin’ you want, but when it’s 90 degrees by mid-morning, it’s like living in a convection oven. So, I broke down and hauled the AC unit out of the shed, even though I’d been advised against excessive exertion in this kind of weather.
I have a love/hate relationship with the air conditioner. Air conditioning gives me a headache. I don’t know why. And luckily I live in a place where the heat comes in during the day but then is chased away at night most of the time. You can leave the house open with fans going all night, get the house nice and cool, and when it starts warming up outside during the afternoon, close the house up tight and be good to go until it cools off again. Lather, rinse, repeat.
But not this week. And on days like this I like having the AC on full blast and making it cold enough to keep milk fresh on the kitchen counter. And if I have to pop Advil like I’m eating M&M’s, so be it. Which is also adding to my giant feet issues, in case you were wondering.
So I hauled the AC out, washed it up and out and got it all shined up nice and wrestled it into the window. I cranked it on and collapsed, dripping with sweat and basting in my own stank, into my chair. A few minutes later the phone rings.
“Hey.” It’s Fr. Albert. He’s in Lochmere and wants to know if we have any use for a “whomp-ass” air conditioner. If so, he’ll be backing into my driveway in about ten minutes.
Is a bear Catholic? Does the Pope shit in the woods?
Not only did he haul in the gigantic AC unit, he put it together, installed it, and even cut a couple of pieces of wood to make sure it wouldn’t budge an inch in the window frame. It seems one of our summer parishoners decided to stop dicking around with a window unit and had central air installed in her cottage and gave the old one to Father. And from there it came to us.
And he wasn’t kidding about whomp-ass, either. It went from 91 degrees to 71 in less than two hours. It hasn’t gone over 70 in the living room all day even when it got to 110 on the porch this afternoon.
And now the smaller unit is in our bedroom so until the nighttime temps drop back down later this weekend, we’ll be cooler upstairs too. And if you listen real carefully, you can hear the sound of the meter jumping off the side of the house. I’m trying not to think about what my PSNH bill is going to be next month.
This must be what it’s like to be Paris Hilton.
Saturday Showcase: Everybody Poops May 28, 2011Posted by J. in Genius, Other People's Genius, Sticks and String.
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You know what sucks? When you give the toddler a chocolate chip cookie and he eats it happily, then you start to smell poop and see said toddler with brown smears all over his face and hands. Then worse, you see a large, brown, splotch on the back of his shirt and shorts, and you realize that you don’t know where the chocolate ends and the poop starts.
This shit isn’t in the parenting manuals. If I ever write my book, it’s going to be called “Your Life Is About to Become All About Bowel Movements” by Poops Lacey. I’m starting to think I should add a category of posts just titled “Shit Stories”.
Did I mention I had to give him a bath after lunch on Thursday because he had spaghetti from eyeball to asshole and while soaking he dropped a deuce in the tub? When you’re a parent, odds are good you will have to scoop some floaters (or sinkers) out of the bathtub at some point. Good times, good times.
So in an homage to the great Memorial Day Weekend Cookie/Crap Debacle of 2011, I have curated a little collection I call “Poops’ Festival of Feces.”
Did I mention that clicking the pictures takes you to the actual listing on Etsy where you can buy the item if you like, or poke around in the seller’s shop to see the other interesting things contained therein? ‘Cause you totally can.
WTF Friday: Imma Snort Some Eggnog Now May 20, 2011Posted by J. in FYI, Genius, Other People's Genius.
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Or maybe some Calgon. Hard to say.
I had heard–vaguely–something about kids these days snorting bath salts to get high. I didn’t quite know if you could get high off of bath salts or not, but then I’ve always liked to make myself dizzy with a nice, fat permanent marker, so there you go.
Anyway, the Bath Salts in question turn out to be a drug of some sort that you can actually buy in a “smoke shop” and it’s legal. For now. And it’s not actually something you’d put in the tub, it’s just what they call the drug. Like how if you take a Black Beauty you don’t have to swallow a whole horse. Google it. You’ll find out all you need to know.
Here’s where it get’s funny. Not “ha-ha” funny but “if I don’t laugh at this I’m going to kill someone” funny.
Some dumbass kids have managed, as kids so often do, to take dumbass to new heights. Because taking drugs isn’t stupid enough to begin with, they’ve mistaken the actual drug called “Bath Salts” for plain, old bath salts. Like what you get at Walgreens or under your grandma’s bathroom sink.
Needless to say, they’re getting fucked up alright. But more in a “lifetime of visits to the ENT” kind of way. You want to know what snorting regular bath salts does to the inside of your nasal cavity? If you decide to find out, don’t do an image search. You’ve been warned.
And with pictures that will put me off rare hamburgers for a few weeks at least, I thought that was the end of the Teh Stoopid, but I was so wrong.
It seems that you, and by you I mean your dumbass kid, can get high from nutmeg.
You can snort it, or eat it. But to feel any hallucinogenic effects, you have to ingest a shitload of it. Which, as I’m sure you can imagine, makes you pretty sick. It’s true. Google away.
I don’t think I’ve ever used nutmeg in a recipe that called for more than a teaspoon of the stuff because it’s such a strong spice to begin with. Go open the jar of nutmeg you have in the kitchen and take a deep whiff. The smell alone would make snorting it a challenge. And what would you put it in to cut the taste?
The mind boggles.
What the fuck is wrong with people? I’m going to go huff a marker.
Saturday Showcase May 14, 2011Posted by J. in Other People's Genius, Sticks and String.
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Yesterday I was sitting here ruminating at the computer and a lady cardinal landed in the tree just outside. The sky was brilliant blue with big, white, cotton candy clouds and a gigantic bumblebee kept banging into the window screen. The leaves are almost fully “leafed” and the apple trees are in full bloom and the lilacs are just starting to open.
I’m not one to wax poetic about the rebirth of the earth, blah blah blah, but damn, that was a long-ass winter and I’m happy to feel the grass between my toes again, and even though the pollen is so thick right now it looks like it’s snowing, I’m so happy to be able to open the windows I could shit mahself. I might even go crazy and make myself some barefoot sandals.
In honor of it feeling deliciously spring-y out there, even though rain is predicted for the forecast all week and the calla lilies aren’t quite in bloom again, here are some really pretty things that make me feel glad that warmer weather is here.
WTF Friday: The Toe-Kini May 13, 2011Posted by J. in Genius, Other People's Genius, Sticks and String.
Here’s a new one for me to file away in my What’s the Point? Files. I don’t work alphabetically, so these will go in the Clothing? section with Crotchless Panties and Skants.
It’s not a sandal. The very word “sandal” implies that it’s footwear, in that it protects the foot from the ground. These do not do that. I argue that one cannot be barefoot and wearing a sandal at the same time. You can tell the manager at Wendy’s that you’re wearing shoes, man…they’re barefoot sandals! But he’s still going to make you leave. No shirt, no shoes, no Spicy Chicken Sandwich.
On the other hand (or foot, as it were), I kind of like these. There are some cute ones out there and there are some dreadfully ugly things, but these are okay in a hippie kind of way. I guess when I think of them as jewelry to adorn your otherwise bare feet at a time when bare feet are appropriate, I kind of like them. I’m thinking they’d be lovely if you were getting married on a beach. Or if you were spending your days on a tropical island in a fashionable matching sarong and a bikini and you liked to accessorize.
Would I wear them into a public restroom? No, probably not.
One thing I do know is that I have some great natural summer fibers in my stash that might have to become barefoot sandals.
Fuck it. If you can’t beat ’em, take their money, I always say.