Happiness Is…

If this photo had been staged, I’d have refilled the mug and cleared the background clutter.
  • Warm, milky coffee in my ancient I ♥ NY mug.
  • The end of a season of oppressively hot weather.
  • Related: Pendleton going back to the original ’49er cut.
  • Finding out that a previous client called me a “fabulous graphic designer,” and not even to me.
  • Mentioning the above on Twitter, and a current client replying by saying that I’m “seriously amazing” and then following with this.
  • Getting stuff checked off my To Do list.
  • Cleaning my stove before 9am, and it wasn’t even on my To Do list. (Although it needed to Be Done)
  • My boyfriend finally managing to fix his truck (specific problem still unknown, but the replacement of many parts seems to have done the trick) which means that he’ll once again have some evenings free for socializing. Not that we usually get together during the week, but now we can.
  • Finally deleting the 276 photos that were “stuck” on my iPhone. Ah, that feels better.
  • The Many Adventures of Rebop the Robot. I might let you in on this at a later date. Maybe.
  • Discovering (granted, two weeks after the fact) that Adobe released a CS6 update and I can now package files out of Illustrator!!!
  • Starting again to list fresh items at Tiddleywink Vintage and Winkorama. (It’s still an overwhelming burden, but it’s my overwhelming burden)
  • Making some progress on reorganizing the storage situation in my bedroom.
  • Being confident that my new bike is in good hands at small, independently-owned The Bicycle Shack, where my mention of “English, internally geared” was immediately responded to with “Sturmey-Archer hub.” They pass the quiz.

And Kitchen Pr0n!

I realize that the last Kitchen Pr0n post wasn’t that long ago, but I overlooked an item that time and added a few more things. And if anyone wants to help me reorganize my kitchen cabinets, yes please thank you! Anyway, here are the newest additions:

You know what a double-boiler looks like. The logo is the most attractive part of this Wards Signature Prestige model.

Missing from the last post is this vintage Wards Signature Prestige stainless steel double boiler. It’s not the double boiler of my dreams (you know you like to cook when you have a double boiler on your wish list), but it will certainly do the trick with fewer hands than a cobbled bowl-and-saucepan bain-marie requires. Now, if it were up to me, I’d have a Pyrex Flameware double boiler like my mom used to have. Model #6283, not the older #6762 version (which has a light blue tint to the glass, and is often logically referred to as Blue Tint, but once sellers realized that the Blue Tint model garnered more money, they started describing the newer, clear model as Blue Tint as well. And asking outrageous prices. Caveat emptor). When I asked her to be on the lookout for one for me, she told me to just buy a new one. At which point I had to inform her that Pyrex hasn’t manufactured a double boiler for decades, and she was dumbfounded. Because why doesn’t Pyrex still make double-boilers? Good question, Mom. Good question.

Not shown: the metal rod that does the work.

Next in line is this clever device manufactured for the sole purpose of mixing your natural nut butters. Now, I’m not generally a fan of single-purpose gadgets. But after years of mixing separated peanut and almond butter with a spoon or butter knife, and the mess it involves, I finally broke down and ordered this sucker. The test was a jar of almond butter that friends found in the back of their pantry, which had separated to a solid mass topped with an inch of almond oil. They were going to toss it, but I took it home to see if it could be saved. It took some doing, but with this tool I eventually got it back into “butter” consistency. Over time, and as long as I remember to buy this size jar (every different lid/jar combo requires its own mixer set), this tool will hold up for years to come.

Kitten With a Whip

While we’re discussing single-use gadgets, let’s get to this joy. A few weeks ago, I broke my Bodum “Aerius” milk frother device. I was inconvenienced, but the fact of the matter is that it was difficult to store in an already-cluttered kitchen, and not easy to wash the frothing screen. Around the same time, I was house-sitting for friends who have an Aerolatte wand, and I was impressed with its small size and frothing ability. However, when I went to buy one for myself, I found them to be expensive. It’s a pair of AA batteries and a spinning stick! I bought one of these motors from Radio Shack for a school project years ago, this thing shouldn’t be $20 (or more, depending on the model). So I held off, used un-frothed milk in my coffee (oh, the horror), and jumped on this red model—to match the Shoes And Pie Test Kitchen—I spotted at Cost Plus World Market for a mere $2.99. You can get your own multicolored 3-pack of them from their web site.

The Crown Jewels of gelatin molds.

Now for something completely different: I had no idea that the Test Kitchen “needed” this copper-toned aluminum gelatin mold until I found it in a thrift store. It’s enormous. 3 quarts, with room to spare! I cannot imagine a time whereupon I’ll be called to make this quantity of molded anything. But it’s fantastic, in its triumphant gothic-arch style. And while you may think it’s a single-purpose device, it can also be used as a chic Devo-In-Metropolis hat! (Which makes me think of “You’ll never guess what loud applause this cunning hat receives.” Watch the whole thing, but if for some reason you can’t, skip ahead to 1:55)

CAN I get you anything? Get it? CAN? Oh, I’m hilarious.

Finally, the newest addition to the Test Kitchen is this graniteware canner, complete with jar rack. These have looked exactly the same for decades, so I’ve no idea how to tell if it’s 5 or 50 years old. The canning kettle I’ve been using is really a soup pot, too small to can anything in quantity, and the jars tend to rattle around and clink into each other dangerously. I’ve been wanting to buy myself a brandy-dandy real set, but keep putting it off. I mean, it’s not as though canning is a pressing need for me, and finances being what they are, well, there you go. For two years, it’s been “next season.” And then ta-da! This slightly banged up set shows up at the thrift store! And it fits on my stovetop! My overhead microwave limits the usable space, but this pot nestles in perfectly.

That’s all, dear readers! Have yourself a wonderful weekend. Shoes And Pie will be back on Monday with more adventures and rambling.

Christmas (if you’re crafty)

Christmas is in the air! Too soon? Too soon. But, if you’re the crafty type, you’re gathering ideas and materials for making gifts and decorations with a personal touch. Coming tomorrow to the Winkorama storefront will be these (and more) vintage crafting magazines, dating from 1962 to 1978. There’s noooo Christmas like oooold Christmas like noooo Christmas I knooooow… ::jazz hands::

I’m trying out the Gallery feature for this post, so you’ll have to click each image to see the complete (and large!) view. Please let me know in the comments below if you like, hate, or are indifferent about seeing the photos this way. Thanks!

TUESDAY Rounderp

(Due to the long Labor Day weekend, Monday’s Rounderp has been rescheduled to today.)

Hey there, kats and kittens! Did you notice that I skipped out on Thursday’s and Friday’s posts last week? You see, Thursday was supposed to be a progress report on how far I’d come with the race team’s hero card, and I simply hadn’t gotten very far. Trying to determine the appropriate size turned out to take far longer than I’d expected, as it turns out there isn’t really a “standard” holder available for these things. Well, Pit Pal makes a telescoping hero card stand, but at a price that will make you choke. An image search for other team’s stands turned up a whole lot of custom-built jobbies. That’s the problem with racers: they can’t stop hot-rodding stuff. 🙂 Anyway, I’d wanted to finish the web site before working on the hero cards, but that’s been held up because trying to get content from these guys is like pulling teeth. However, I discovered over the weekend that one of the drivers has been giving out the web address (which once pointed to a half-built site filled with misinformation and FPO photos, posted only for my own testing purposes and since taken down). I’ve asked repeatedly for content, so aside from physically standing over a team member while watching him gather files and info for me, I’m at a loss as to how to move forward with that project. All I can do for now is put up some lame home page, which roughly outlines what should be there, someday. Heck, I was putting the site together as a favor to them, so if they let the domain registry expire without ever posting a thing, it’s not really my problem.

Does it look hot? Because it’s about 104° out. Give or take 1,000 degrees.

Speaking of the weekend, and the race team: it was another race weekend, this time in Kearney, Nebraska. It appeared to be a charming and fairly vibrant town, but the race track is never in town. Surrounded by corn and soybean fields, sizzling under oppressive heat during the days, and our nights punctuated by the continual passing of freight trains. The guys got in a few good passes and impressed the crowd. While I do love watching them make a pass, I am so tired of the long drives, the heat, the bugs, and the stench of Portalets. I’ll go to the last race this season, but I think that may be it for me. The bloom is well off the rose.

After years of glowing reviews from friends and family members, I made an impulse purchase and bought myself a (refurbished, therefore half price) Dyson vacuum to replace the Phantom which has been sitting in a non-functioning state* since mid July. Now, while I realize that’s a whole lot of weeks to be collecting dust and cat fur, I am certain that the first pass with the Dyson pulled up stuff from the last decade. I am both impressed, and grossed out.

Here’s where I’ll try to take us this week:

WEDNESDAY – Summer is quickly fleeting, and I’ve made exactly 0 batches of ice cream. I’ll remedy that with…baklava ice cream! That sounds good, right? I sure think so!

THURSDAY – I got a new (to me) bike last week! Woo! Read all about it, and my related glee!

FRIDAY – Fiiiine, we’ll take a look at how much I can cobble together for this race team web site that I was once so excited about, before I realized that I was the only one who cared.

_______________________

*The Phantom ingested its belt. I have a replacement belt, but the boyfriend, who promised that he’d help me remove the pieces of the old one and replace it, has been slacking in his extramural helping-out duties. Note: the dishwasher that has been sitting in my back yard for over a year. Could I have politely left out this footnote? Yes, but while I’m tickled by the favors being offered in the first place, my disappointment and frustration at the lack of follow through is growing exponentially. It is a surface sign of deeper problems that are no longer going ignored. I know I don’t usually blog about this stuff, please pardon my inappropriate venting.