happy valentine’s day!

i have been unforgivably absent from the blog lately.

i DID have some sort of plague which made getting out of bed difficult, but still. no excuse.

i decided a mini project was just the thing to to properly usher myself back into the blogging world. hence: mini heart lollipops with handmade tags for co-workers for valentine’s day.

valentine's_day_lollipopfirst, i made all the handwritten tags. i then glued them onto various kinds of pretty scrap booking paper to make them festive. i punched a hole into each tag with a fork.

yes. a fork. THIS fork specifically:

fork

i strung a short length of hemp string through each hole, using the string to tie the tag onto the lollipop stem. voila! after approximately 45 minutes, i had 25 cheerful little valentine’s day greetings to pass out at work.

handmade_valentine's_day_tagshandmade_valentine's_day_tagsvalentine's_day_lollipopshappy valentine’s day!

katie

fun fact: physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.

fun fact #2: the italian city of verona, where shakespeare’s lovers romeo and juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to juliet every valentine’s day.

DIY magnets.

Magnets are important. They’re fun. They hold things. Best of all, they’re easy to make.

You will need several things before you can begin:

  • paper
  • drawing instruments
  • clear marbles, with flat backs (any size)
  • magnets (base the size of your magnet on the size of your marbles)
  • glue – one that dries clear.
  • and scissors.

I got all of the above supplies from Michaels, minus the drawing instruments (a gift) and the paper (taken from Dani’s sketchbook).

The saturday swine was not about to be left out of such a fun project, and so he convinced me to use him for a ‘demonstration’ magnet.

DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnet DIY_magnetA quick and easy project – kids would probably enjoy it, too. Of course, you’d have to keep them from eating the glue …

a glass jellyfish.

Ages ago, I soldered together bits of colored glass to make a jellyfish. I named him Herman P. Jelly, and he hung from my rearview for several years until finally, the solder fell apart, his legs fell off, and all that was left was his body, dangling from a string.

I needed a new jelly.

Here’s how I made my new one:

1. the workshop. it’s located in our parent’s garage, and stocked with everything you need to make things with glass. cutters, grinders, solder, soldering guns, rulers, wire, glue, beads, marbles, a kiln.

glass_workshop

stained_glass

glass cutter

2. after choosing your glass (and deciding what to make), cut!

cutting glass3. the glass had sharp edges, so i moseyed to the grinder, and ground down the edges on all my pieces.

glass_grinding

glass pieces

4. now you have your glass pieces. they’re round, but dirty, so they need to be wiped clean. i used windex.

glass_pieces

5. into the kiln! warning: if you’re using a kiln, make sure the glass you’re using is fusable.

glass_kiln

6. fast forward to 4 1/2 to 5 hours later, and … JELLYFISH!

glass_jellyfish

7. last step – drill a hole in the top. you can use it for an ornament or hang it from somewhere. this little guy will be taking Herman P. Jelly’s spot of honor dangling from my rearview mirror.

the casualties:

1. slipping while trying to break glass along the score line. i added a heart to my band-aid to make it more festive.

casualty

2. spilled glass rods. they look like really pretty pick-up sticks, but are much trickier to pick up since they’re so delicate.

glass_rods

if you don’t have a kiln, call some make-your-own pottery places. they might have a dual glass/pottery kiln like the one i used, and will let you fire your own pieces for a fee.

katie

DIY stuffed whale.

Dani and I used to make our own barbie clothes. They ranged from simple frocks to more elaborate, southern belle style dresses with bits of lace. Our mom made us gorgeous Halloween costumes when we were younger, and we learned to enjoy sewing from her. I love creating things – and I especially love working with fabric, thread, and above all, buttons.

For Matt’s birthday, I decided to make him a stuffed whale. Previously he’d requested, if ever I were to make him a stuffed creature, a blue whale, so I thought it would be a fun birthday present.

I bought an adorable whale pattern on Etsy here.

Unfortunately, it’s not a blue whale. Well, I guess technically it’s a blue whale, but it’s not a blue whale. So … I altered the pattern. Hooray!

important note: altering patterns is a tricky business.


and finally – sew his eyes on, sew the last bit together, and …

you have one grumpy little whale.

katie

note: despite my best efforts, he still didn’t look like a blue whale. matt loves him anyway.

a homemade birthday card.

you will need scissors, glue, fun patterned paper, a marker, and buttons, along with about half an hour of your time.

the front:

creatures are good for birthday cards. who wouldn’t want a creature with such a magnificent tail wishing them a happy birthday? a sour grouch, that’s who.

the inside:

a creature AND balloons? whoever gets this card is going to have the best birthday ever, guaranteed.

happy card-making!

katie

carrot greeting cards.

Perfect for friends, significant others, and rabbits. Or those who fancy themselves rabbits.

1. buy the biggest carrot you can find.

2. make a tag.

3. write your message.

4. attach. i used a handle from a paper bag, wrapped around and knotted in the back.

5. give this silly greeting card to someone special, and make their day a little brighter (literally – a carrot this enormous is bound to improve their eyesight at least somewhat).

katie

Shrimp Pacifica

Please enjoy this old family recipe- it’s delicious!

Shrimp Pacifica

1 lb of medium shrimp in shell
1/2 cup vegetable oil/olive oil*
1/2 cup lemon juice
1 tsp mixed Italian herbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coarse ground pepper
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onions

*Since the marinade is boiled after and then used as a dipping sauce, olive oil adds no nutritional benefit if used instead of vegetable oil, it’s just a taste preference.

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
2. Let marinade for several hours, or longer. (We have, on occasion, marinated the shrimp for only 30 minutes or so, but its always best marinated for as long as possible.)
3. Start up your grill!
4. Separate the shrimp from the marinade, pour the remaining marinade in a saucepan on low heat, put the shrimp on the grill in a basket- to seal their doom! (We realize, of course, they are no longer alive. Sad.)


5. Grill shrimp until pink, usually no more than 7 minutes.


6. Cook down marinade until sauce has thickened, and is boiling.
7. Pour the marinade into individual bowls for each person, and enjoy!

Serves 2-3. People. Not angry wolves.

Pirate Juice

Pirate Juice has unknown origins. Its shadowy past includes appearances at Luca’s, my favorite bar in Locust Point until it closed in 2010. Not many know its ingredients or how to create it, but we have decided to share with you its secrets.

To make pirate juice properly, you will need:

  • 3 cups Malibu Coconut Rum*
  • 1.5 cups Pineapple juice*
  • A dash of Naked Berry Blast juice (or something similar)
  • 1 orange, cut into wedges
  • Sliced fresh strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries for topping. Apples, clementines, and blueberries are good, too.

*The Malibu and pineapple juice mixture is 2:1, so feel free to mix more than 3 cups/1.5 cups.

1. Mix the Malibu and pineapple juice.
2. Squeeze the orange wedges into the Malibu/pineapple juice mixture.
3. Fill a glass with ice and pour in the Malibu/pineapple mixture. Add a dash of Naked Berry Blast to the glass.
4. Top with fruit, and preferably, a straw. A paper umbrella too if you have one.
5. Drink outdoors for maximum enjoyment. A well-timed “arrrr” wouldn’t be misplaced, either. Happy summer cocktail drinking!

trixy treats

Trix aren’t just for kids anymore, rabbit.

You will need 2 bags of marshmallow and one box of Trix fruitalicious swirls.

  1. Melt the marshmallows in a large pot over very low heat, stirring frequently, for 15-20 minutes.
  2. Mix in the Trix.
  3. Transfer the mix onto a buttered pan* and let cool; cut into squares with a sharp, buttered knife.
  4. ENJOY!

* this is a LOT harder than it sounds. The marshmallow increases in stickiness and strength as it cools. When trying to smooth out the mixture, my hands stuck fast to the sticky, blobby mess – I battled with it for 15 solid minutes, trying to free myself. It was like wrestling Swamp Thing. Or a hydra.