Sunday, July 27, 2014

Park Yourself

I needed the park worse than chores needed doing. Just after this photo was snapped, a large, red tailed hawk flew from the tree above us. I suppose we interrupted him. I'm thankful I wasn't shat upon, but really-I could do without the large, screaming raptor thing in a city park of all places! Imagine. Hrumph, what do they think this is, some sort of nature preserve? Wild birds up the park-what's next?!
We kept finding large feathers that could only have come from hawks scattered about. *shudder* there must be more of the bastards aloft.

In the end, we had a nice bit of exercise, came home to drink iced coffee, and drew the weekend to a close in a pleasant way. The weather is expected to be cooler this upcoming week, so perhaps there's more park time awaiting (I'm soooo wearing a helmet next time).

Outfit Particulars:

80's (I think) NR I dress by Ned Gould-Goodwill
Blue glass ring-Hobby Lobby
Cinnabar bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Milk Glass bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Dior Earrings-Thrifted
1950's KARU brooch-Hand-Me-Ups (.99 cents! That is insane!)
Shoes-Thrifted, Goodwill
Snood with bow-had it since the 80's
1960's French handbag-Goodwill, Council Bluffs, IA

I hope you have a lovely week, and that no screeching raptors try to shit on your head.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hey There's Ioway Pete Wearin' His Corn Belt

My favourite sort of Saturday where I load the family into the mighty Ford Tempo, and head for Council Bluffs-but first I had to stop at Penzy's for spices. I mixed up a batch of Madras style curry powder (so I could control the heat) and I *gasp* ran out of cardamom. I Know! Had to remedy that immediately, so Penzy's spice store it was.
We have a long relationship with Penzy's, going back to their days as a by-post only operation. I could buy less expensive spices, but with allergies in the family, being able to know it isn't being packaged in the same spot with nuts is worth it. Anytime I had questions they've been able to tell me what is packaged in which facility, and what not to buy. As I don't like spending time in hospital emergency rooms, this knowledge is worth paying a bit extra for. They're not any more expensive than grocery store spices (sometimes they're cheaper) and the quality is really a night and day difference. I'm not being compensated in any way for saying this-I simply like the company and am a happy customer.
Off to Iowa we went, and I had the opportunity to wear the gorgeous scarf from Curtise. This makes two weeks in a row where my scarf matched my dress with an almost eerie perfection. I mean, look at that.
It is so stinkin' hot outside-and humid too. Next week looks better, but that doesn't really help today, now does it? I wore the lightest dress I own, which is this parachute material number. Being a thin nylon, it *really* isn't for windy days, but today was calm-in the dead still sense. And hot. Did I mention how hot it is?
I wore a kimono over the dress because most places over-do the air conditioning. There's no middle ground I'm afraid, so as  I shift from freezing to sweltering, I find layers just as useful in summer as they are in winter.

We stopped at a new thrift store in Council Bluffs (next door to the Dairy Queen across from Mall of the Bluffs) called, Sequels. They had been in some earlier location I wasn't aware of, but I was happy to know they exist. The store is in an old gas station, and they've used the shelves that once held fizzy drinks behind glass doors to hold shoes. That's my kind of thrift store. The ladies that run it are just as sweet as can be, and the stock is small, but well-selected. Clothes run $1.00-$2.00 and shoes are about the same. I found a lovely flannel-lined slip from the 50's, and a wooden beaded handbag from about the same era. I spent $3.00 and left happy as could be.

We interrupt this trip to Iowa for an update from the Kitsch Museum:

Danny's taking the curator job quite seriously, I'm (sorta) pleased to report.
 Oh dear, you just know it is going to be awful if he dubbed them, Ginger and Mary Ann.
 Yep, they're awful. Still, the powder room needed something on the wall. I'm not sure I'd call them cherubs exactly, but they are "naked" which has a completely different connotation than, "nude."
This one looks like a cross between Charro and Bridget Bardot. Qooochie, Qooochie!
I can believe I bought them as a hideous example of 70's d├ęcor, but I don't know who the hell would have bought them in the contemporary. Anyway, here's a few other gallery labels I found added around the house:
 He's having fun with this, obviously.
Right. So that's the museum update.
Ha! Leg on vanity returns-take that rheumatoid arthritis!

The Goodwill in Council Bluffs did not disappoint either. There was California pottery (heaven help me, the museum is gonna need a new wing) a satin jumpsuit (I don't know why either, but I don't really need a reason to wear a 70's satin jumpsuit if I desire, do I?) more 70's Homco wall hangings for the museum, and polyester shirts galore. I adore that Goodwill location. We timed the trip-it took 27 minutes, which really isn't bad at all. It was a haul when we lived in the country, but now it is a quick trip on the Interstate.
 Outfit Praticulars:

Route 66 dress-K Mart last year
Scarf and mirrored ring- gift from the Made out of Awesome Curtise
Shoes-K Mart a few years ago
Vintage Kimono-Hand-Me-Ups
Vintage handbag-Goodwill

Quoochie Quoochie!


Friday, July 25, 2014

A Quick Food Safety Reminder

Summer is prime time for canning in the Northern hemisphere. I'm seeing many, many recipes for bottling jams that indicate you can skip the boiling water bath if you follow some alternate technique.
Friends (and you are my friends, which is why I don't want you getting sick) if you do not plan to freeze or refrigerate your preserves, then you must follow proper canning procedures. Inverting the jar, heating the jars in the oven, or using the heat of the sun are not consistent with what we now know to be a safe manner of preserving food. I acknowledge, my grandmother lived a good long life, and she never used a water bath canner for her strawberry preserves. I remember her melting paraffin, and the whole bit. Still, today we know a bit more about food safety, and while you won't die from a poorly preserved jar of jam (unlike a poorly preserved low acid food like peas that absolutely must go through a pressure canner) it will be more likely to spoil, develop mould (which in the old days we just scraped off before we knew it was a carcinogen) or seal and re-seal under hot or cold conditions leaving you none the wiser it had happened. If you're going to the effort of making jam, take the extra ten minutes and run it through a water bath. If your seals are good after that, then you know they are likely to stay that way if properly stored. If you really can't be bothered, make freezer jam-it is quick and easy. Alternately, you could make a small batch and just store it in the fridge. But really, if you plan to store it, do the water bath.

And please (PLEASE!) don't can butter. That will kill you.
*mutters* the things you see people do on the Internet...



This is Herman the aubergine. I haven't slipped a scale beneath him, but take my word for it-he's heavy. I'll give it a few more days, but at present there's only a single tomato showing the slightest sign of ripening.
The lettuces and herbs are doing nicely. I've been harvesting about this much every few days. I poached fish tonight, so the tarragon and lemon balm were put to use there. The basil was made into single-serving pesto for the freezer, and the mint became a chutney with some coconut. The cutting lettuces were served tonight, and the thyme was cooked with some carrots. The only thing left is the rosemary, which will end up in bread tomorrow. Then, in a few day's time I can repeat the routine. I'm not complaining-I adore having fresh herbs to cook with.

Tonight, one show only, "Herman and the Herbs."
Has a ring to it.

Well hello...I just noticed it is Friday evening! Happy weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Oh, Be(e)have!

Last weekend, I found a brand-new Nordic Ware beehive pan at Goodwill for $2.99 . Admittedly, there aren't that many occasions (if any) when I have need of a beehive shaped cake-but I like to be prepared for any and all possibilities (with respect to cake, anyway). I now know what pan I will be using to bake honey cake for Rosh Hashanah. The pan has two moulds, so you have to piece the halves together with frosting. That made me think it would also have potential hollowed partially out for an impressive ice cream bombe. See? I'm already finding uses for this impractical pan.

People that know me understand that I have a bit of a Nordic Ware obsession. I've managed to keep it under control (mostly) and have limited myself to two bundt pans, and an aebelskever pan-and now this beehive. If you're not familiar with their mind-boggling array of pans, you may wish to remain ignorant because once you see the pans, you can't un-see them...and you will want them all. I am not being paid by Nordic Ware to say this.

The recipe on the packaging comes from Williams and Sonoma, and that is the recipe I used for the cake:

For the bee decorations I used unsalted butter and icing sugar tinted with food colouring. As I shaped the bees I placed them on wax paper I then transferred to the fridge for a good hour before using. You can do sugar paste with egg whites and granulated sugar but then you have to find something close in shape to mould it in (bottle caps, candy moulds, etc.). I've used both over the years, and if you aren't planning to save the decorations, buttercream is the way to go.

Here's the back view.

The picture doesn't convey it, but the cake is quite small (though certainly large enough for Danny and Mr. ETB) and unless you sliced quite miserly pieces, it wouldn't feed more than 8 adults (6 if they're greedy). It is a rich cake though (a cup of butter, and 4 eggs)so you probably wouldn't want all that much anyway, but be aware it is small.

The weather gave us a nice break today, so I took advantage of using the oven before we're plunged back into the extreme heat/humidity thing we've been in. You might think this would be ideal weather for ripening tomatoes, but they are steadfast in their refusal to so much as blush on the vine. Meanwhile, I have an aubergine of near mammoth proportions threatening to overtake the little plot waiting for a tomato to be baked with. I may need to reconsider, as I don't think "Herman" (what, you don't name your vegetables?) is going to wait for the slacker tomatoes. I'm resisting bringing the tomatoes in, wrapping them in newsprint, and leaving them on the windowsill with a banana like my mother always did, but if they don't start turning red soon, I may reconsider.

I don't imagine standing over the plants screaming, "Ripen you bastards!" would do any good either, but it might be satisfying.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Annie Get Your Gun

Upon seeing me this morning Mr. ETB remarked, "That looks really 70's."
"Which ones?" I asked "The 18, or the 19?"
This style has been around for some time in the United States. I'm fairly certain it never went out of style in Nebraska.
In fact, you'd have to search rather hard to find a wardrobe in these parts that didn't have at least a few Western items.
And we all know how much I love a shirt with snaps.

This necklace isn't Western, it isn't even from the Americas. It is Afghan, but the colour palette worked so well with the outfit I decided I didn't need to be a slave to authenticity. I'm authentic enough in my person, I can take some liberties with my wardrobe. At least that's my story ;)
And the boots? Selena Gomez for K Mart. Really, I bought teenie-bopper boots. Know what? They're the first pair of Western boots I've had that were comfortable. I wish I'd bought ten pair when they were in the stores.

Outfit Particulars:

1970's Western shirt-Thrift World, Millard
Jantzen 1970's skirt-Goodwill, Council Bluffs
Selena Gomez boots-K Mart
1970's vinyl handbag-Goodwill
Silver clamper bracelet-Mum's, 1970's
Earrings-Retail, can't remember
Rings-some thrifted, some Mum's
1960's hand-tooled belt-gift about 40 years ago from my cousin Andi (I'm on the next to last hole on the belt, but I'd starve before getting rid of it after all these years).
Afghan silver and lapis necklace-The Mexican Shop, Evanston early 80's

Anything You Can Do

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Flipping the Bird

I thought you might enjoy some vintage bird-flipping
Dontcha wish you could see where that was directed? I hate only having half the story. I really like the ring though-think Dickie bought it for her?

Beautiful day in the neighbourhood, won't you...fuck off? I'm pretty sure this is photoshopped, but fun anyway. I always thought there was something slightly sinister about Mr. Rogers.

Oh come on now, you don't flip off Karl. Really.
Good old Gracie, the voice that launched a thousand flips trips.

I'll leave you with Debbie Harry because...well you don't really need a reason to post a photo of Debbie Harry flipping someone off, do you?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Can't Take Us Anywhere

I hesitated buying this dress. There are things I require in a dress, but a built-in, padded bra isn't one of them. I'm still not sure about it, but that's the joy of thrifting-at worst you're out a few dollars if it doesn't work for you. It does match my hat and scarf extraordinarily well.
I look respectable anyway. Too bad looks are deceiving...

Ugh, god! We seem to have caught some terrible bug. Blerg. Bluch. Blech.


Oh no! Not again!
Him too?! I think we can all guess which "end" the endoscopy went in...
Ugh. What am I to do? They're closed on Sunday.
Uh oh, here it comes!

Sadly, I can't say this is the first time we've taken these sorts of photos as a family. Hard to resist a good medical sign, I guess. I wouldn't let Mr. ETB go around the corner for photos at the Urology associates. We have to save something for another day.

Outfit Particulars:

RK Originals dress-Goodwill
Hat K Mart
Scarf-Thrift World
Necklaces-Both Hand-Me-Ups
Earrings K Mart
Vintage eyeglass sun-clip-Hand-Me-Ups

 And in other interesting news, did you know there is an electric earwax dissolving gadget you can buy? I sure didn't! Imagine the fun breaking out one of these at your next cocktail party.
And ONLY $8.99

Yeah! You just fuck off cotton swabs! I'm getting a Wax Vac for these ears.

Did you have a good weekend? I did, except you really can't find a gastroenterologist on Sunday in Omaha. Otherwise, yeah, pretty good weekend.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Thigh's the Limit

Oh why the hell not? I can see these with one of my church lady dresses. They appear never to have been worn outside as the soles look new, and I didn't see any obvious signs of indoor use like teeth marks on the heels...
I reckon a hooker must have stopped by to donate some footwear today. These are also suspiciously new looking. I guess there aren't too many occasions for this sort of thing-unless you're me!  This morning I had an eye exam, and got new lenses set in my specs. My mother's old frames will have a green gradient tint, and my black Artcraft cat eyes will have the regular clear lenses. I can't wait for them to come back from the lab. I asked the young man helping me with my frames if he thought the bright green tint would look strange.
"Well yes", he replied "But consider the alternative!" I guess I shouldn't have asked the guy in a chartreuse shirt and tie if green lenses would look strange. An elderly couple sitting nearby (and entertaining us with dirty jokes) thought the green lenses sounded terrific. At any rate, I'm sure no one will notice my specs once they get a look at my footwear.

I found some shoes for "normals" as well. The Clarks were $5.99 which seems like a good deal (and they're also unworn).
Today was a first wear for this lightweight 70's dress. I'm not in love with the cap sleeves, but it was the perfect thing to wear on a warm, slightly muggy day.
 I bought the reverse painted bangle when I was pregnant as it was the only thing I could fit over my swollen wrists. It slips around a bit now being large, but I would never get rid of it associating it as I do with my pregnancy. I was so happy to have anything that fit. I gained thirty pounds, but I swear most of it was in my ankles and wrists. Danny was only 6 lbs. 11 oz. I blame the cheese-roll-ups. Oh, you want to know what that is? Take a slice of horseradish flavoured cheese (or a slice of Swiss with a dollop of horseradish) and spread it with cream cheese. Roll it up. That's where the thirty pounds came from. I did lose all of my pregnancy weight (and then some) but I have to admit I still can't look at cheese without feeling a little sick.
All those great shoes need handbags to match. That large tote with the print is actually vinyl inside, and on the trim, so the vinyltastic festival continues. The white bag with the Lucite handles was $2.99 at Goodwill, which is insane for a 50's handbag. I feel like I should keep stalking that store for a bit until all the granny bags hit the display. I suspect someone donated a huge number of these, and they're staggering putting them out. It can't just be luck that every time I've hit that location they've had a rack of crazy vinyl bags. Can it?
Finally, a beautiful enamel pot, never used but with a chip in the lid. No big deal, and at $2.99 for a heavy saucepan I'm willing to tolerate a chip on the lid. You don't eat from the lid. How I wish the rest of the set had shown up in the store-if ever a pot could tick all the boxes of things I love, this is it.

Danny has started printing out cards to hang beneath my crazy wall-art with things like:

                                                                  Homco Sconces
                                                                  Gilt on Plastic
                                                                  American, 1971
                                                                  Museum of Kitsch,

I thought it was funny at first, but now everything in the house has a description affixed to or beneath it. Maybe I really should conduct tours by appointment. Anyway, I'm letting him have his fun for the moment. There's still another month to summer break.

If anyone needs to label their kitsch, let me know and I'll have the little archivist make you some signage.