Saturday, November 23, 2013

Crocheted Things

Is it a sting ray? A bat? A bird? I intended it to be one of those things, but my intent wasn't obvious. This finger puppet doesn't live with me anymore, so I can no longer stare and brainstorm ways to make it look more like what I wanted it to be. That's a good thing.

At least this tortoise toy looks like a tortoise, but before I decide to crochet again, I need to remember my deep breathing exercises because damn those loops get tight! This toy tested me in many ways, and now I'm stuck with a huge bag of polyfill that is larger than my yarn stash. 

As is the way with handcrafted gifts that I'm making for the first time, I become frustrated in the 11th hour and I hand it over to the boy to finish. His job was to add the eyes and the mouth.  He did a commendable job on both.

This is our melting jack-o-lantern, just a few days after Halloween. It was rigid and proper for most of the day, but as I was leaving the house I noticed it leaning a little to the right. By the time I returned home, only a couple of hours later, it had melted completely and was laying on our doormat. Our poor, poor pumpkin ended his life in our compost bin, so at least the worms will be happy.

Oh, but it has not been all about frustrating projects and melting pumpkins in these parts. These November days are ridiculously warm and sunny, and the beaches are the ideal place to enjoy them. I know we need more rain and that these sunshine-filled days are cutting into potential snow time, but I'll savor them while they last.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Allspice Dram, Part 1

Last Friday, I had a cocktail at Five that has had me thinking about it since the first sip. It's the Lion's Tail. The Lion's Tail combines the bourbon, lime (so odd to have lime with brown spirits),  bitters, allspice dram, and simple syrup - it sounds like those ingredients are from a random cocktail generator, but they worked! They really worked!

Allspice dram is an ingredient that I can't see myself using very often, which is why the $30 price tag for 375 mL was off-putting.  Could I make it? Several people have, and they say that in a mixed drink, the homemade version holds its own. 1 ounce of whole allspice berries were $.094 in the Mexican spice section of the grocery store. One cinnamon stick is roughly $0.25. We had some crap light rum purchased ages ago from Trader Joe's, too, so the price tag on the homemade version was convincing me to DIY.

I lightly crushed the allspice berries, the whole 1-ounce package, and tossed it into a mason jar filled with rum and a wee bit of vodka (I didn't have a full cup of rum). The next step is to break a cinnamon stick into the mix after a few days, and then to strain the mixture and combine it with a brown sugar simple syrup.  I also want to put some nutmeg and cloves into the mix. This will be something totally undrinkable on its own (liquid Christmas is what it reminds me of), but hopefully it will make one hell of a Lion's Tail.

Don't feel like making this? Then get yourself down to Five and try one for yourself. They have a "cocktails from famous hotels" (link opens a .pdf to some fascinating reading) series going on, and I would have tried them all if I wasn't such a responsible adult in charge of getting us all home.


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