portrait of the artist?

>> Saturday, June 11, 2011

so i've been chosen to be a "featured artist" on the handmade deal site heartsy, something that has been in the works for about a month. (i didn't say anything just in case i didn't get it.)  while i am ecstatic, i am more than just a little frightened that either a) i will be overwhelmed with orders or b) no one will like my stuff and i will be humiliated.  but, nothing ventured, nothing gained and really, i am just hoping to get my little shop some much needed exposure.  so, the day my deal goes up, you'll be able to purchase a voucher that will be worth 51% off anything.  seriously.

part of the heartsy requirement is a photograph of each featured artist.  i myself love to see the person behind the artwork when searching for handmade work, but finding a picture of myself that i like is a little more elusive.  there are barely any photographs of me in our collection because usually i am the one wielding the camera, or i conveniently am out of range when someone else swings the lens in my direction.  so this afternoon, i set myself up with my camera and took some shots.  and while none of them are calvin klein worthy, i did get a couple that i think captured me a little.  hopefully.


can't stand me now. oh, those libertines!

>> Thursday, June 9, 2011

i'll admit that the reputation of the libertines preceded them when i first started to listen to their music.  the drug-addled antics and subsequent trips to rehab, the infighting and notorious jealousy, and the fact that they were produced by mick jones (the clash) and had ties to the sex pistols' production team all made them very interesting.  pete doherty's rapid decline into cocaine and heroin use and his rollercoaster relationship with supermodel kate moss ended up ultimately breaking up the band until very briefly in 2010, they reformed to play a successful show opening for canada's fantastic arcade fire.  while barat and doherty have had moderate success with their solo projects, they still don't have the same chemistry as they did with the libertines.

anyhow - trying to listen without prejudice, i've been enjoying their post-punk/post-clash garage band world and envision these guys as fun-loving, painfully romantic, perfect british drinking pals.  kind of like the morrissey/johnny marr of the 00's.  this song, in particular, seems to refer to doherty and co-frontman carl barat's stormy friendship (some people say "romance"... hmmmm) and their struggle with each other's problems.  apparently doherty even broke into barat's apartment at one point - and yet they still were able to write and record this song together.  now THAT's entertainment!



>> Wednesday, June 8, 2011

L's bike sitting outside our old office
the only thing (besides heartbreak and a pair of diamond earrings that we are tempted to pawn) that mr. robot left the lovely L was the joy of the bike ride.  the man was heartless, unscrupulous, and crazy demanding, but he definitely knew how to keep in shape.  i think that the whole time they were together, much of their "dates" included the gym and long, gruelling bike rides.  the guy even generously (*insert sarcastic tone here*) gave L a bike that belonged to an ex-girlfriend.  and told her so.  (goes to show how a relationship CAN put you through your paces.)

despite mr. robot's recent feeble attempts at contacting her as of late, L has kept nothing from that relationship except the newfound joy of those long rides.  the girl is a machine (not the same kind of crappy machine as mr. robot) and last weekend, biked 60K (yes, 60 f-ing K!) in a charity marathon.  to say that i am proud of her, is an understatement.  i mean, i can remember the last time i rode my bike and i barely made the 2K from my house to the office - and my butt hurt for days afterwards. 

go, L, go!  you are definitely my hero.  there's a bag of popchips with your name on it in my bag.


can't keep my hands off you!

>> Tuesday, June 7, 2011

i don't know what it is about rockin' east coast/eastern townships boys that gets me - but there's just something about them.  including guilty pleasure 'simple plan'.  and combine the music with their fresh faces, tattoos and rivers cuomo of weezer fame, and i can't resist.  can't keep my hands off of you... for sure!  rock on, guys.


giving up on the wax.

>> Monday, June 6, 2011

the boys at milwaukee precision casting
so my jewelry making book came and i read up on the whole lost wax casting technique.  and for now, i think i am going to have to shelf the idea.  not only is it a complicated process, but i would need access to equipment that i not only cannot afford (unless i win the lottery or find some sort of sugar daddy) but that is also quite dangerous.  pouring hot molten metal into a tiny mold will probably result in massive injuries for accident-prone me, especially if i do it on my own.  i am one of those people who rushes through a process to get to the end product - usually with not very good results.  so i'm looking into a good wax casting course, if i can find one.  that way, i can make sure i learn properly, and don't kill myself along the way. 

i am reading up on a lot of more complex cold forging techniques - riveting, stapling, embossing - which not only is a little safer, but also a little more accessible.  but i think i'll get to where i'd like to be someday in this whole jewelry fabrication thing.  someday.


i heart sweet & sour chicken.

>> Sunday, June 5, 2011

i usually don't post cooking related things here anymore because my usual repetoire is nothing to write home about.  but i do spend a good chunk of my life cooking, mostly because the husband prefers me slaving over a hot stove, doesn't like any other person's cooking except for my mother's, and the mini likes anything he likes.  saves us money on take out, i suppose.  today, out of the blue, he asks me, "hey babe, can you cook that kind of sweet orangey chicken that they make at chinese restaurants?  you know, the sauce is orange and there are peppers in it?"  yeah, dude, i know exactly what you're talking about.  i love how white people describe chinese food.  unfortunately, he knows that even though i LOOK the part, i cannot cook chinese food if my life depended on it - and he's also told me so several times.  but, because i'm always up for a challenge, i google for recipes and came up with this one. i was a little daunted because it is a two step recipe - where you batter the chicken and saute it, then combine it with the sauce - but once the mini was napping, i dove right in.  and seriously, i was THRILLED at the outcome.  i am sitting here, arms covered in tiny little red spots from the hot oil (yup, nothing i do is complete without a little self harm - aren't you glad i'm not YOUR wife), eating all of this chicken by myself.  i'm posting the recipe with my modifications so i don't lose it.  and so you can make it too.

8 chicken breasts, diced into 1" or so pieces

1 8oz can pineapple - whatever shape you like - drained and juice reserved
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

chicken batter:
2 cups self-rising flour (i used regular flour with a little baking powder instead)
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp ground black pepper (white pepper probably would have been better but oh well)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp garlic powder

oil for sauteing - the original recipe i found asked for a quart but there is no way i'm using that amount of oil.  i used a heavy bottomed frying pan and just used enough oil to coat the surface.

mix all the batter ingredients together until batter is like pancake batter.  add water to get the right consistency.  then add chicken pieces and stir well to coat.  feel free to let marinate in the batter for 30 mins or so.  heat up the oil until a drop of water explodes when you put it on and saute the chicken in a single layer.  you might have to do it in batches - i did.  try to refrain from eating all the cooked chicken at this point - seriously, it is that good.

then start your sauce.  put the reserved pineapple juice, water, sugar and vinegar in a small pot and heat till boiling, stirring frequently.  then dissolve the cornstarch in a small dish of water and add to the sauce once it is boiling.  stir till thickened and lower the heat.

chop up some celery, peppers and onions.  or whatever vegetables you like in your chinese food.  mix with the pineapple.  pour the vegetables into the hot sauce then when you're ready to serve, pour it all over the chicken.

serve with noodles or rice. 

now i'm forcing myself to go sit outside so i won't eat it all.


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