This is going to be about me. I'm going to talk about glass, PMC, cooking, recipes, limoncello(!), cats and just pretty much whatever I feel like talking about at the time. Hope you stick around with me.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Laughing at Myself...

I just read the post I did in February about RedDudeCat and how I didn't think he was my cat, timing was wrong, etc. I almost laughed myself off the chair.

In case anyone wants to know what happened to Red in the last few months...I ADOREADOREADORE this kitty. He is the light of my life kittywise. He's nuts. He's funny. He's snuggly. He's adorable. And he loves me right back. He's beautiful and I love him so much I could just nibble on his little pink toes (except that I know where they've been). ;) He truly is a gem of a kitty and I know Freckles told him to come make me laugh because I would need it. I still miss my Freckles terribly and always will but I love that he sent me this wonderful kitty to keep me company until we meet at the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you Freckles...heart of my heart...

OK. Before I make myself start to cry I'm going to get my tush up and go make some beads or something. It's hot as all get out in Chicago today so I'm not doing anything that requires a lot of activity today! Hope you all have wonderful days!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lemon or Banana?

Don is cooking Saturday night and we're having friends over. He's going to make salad, crawfish etouffee and have some nice crusty bread. Yummm, huh? So I get to make desert. I have about a million little tart pans so I'm going make something that will fit in them. At first I was thinking about lemon tarts. I LOVE lemon tarts and they're pretty easy to make so it seems like a no brainer. Then I decided that maybe banana cream pie would be good. So I have everything to make banana cream pies and now I want to do lemon. Maybe I should do both. I'm thinking about doing lemon and tarting them up a bit. hahahaha. I'm going to put blueberries on them and then make some blue/purple whipped cream and pipe it on like violets. I may have to take a picture.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a good day so far for me, how about for you? Don took me for a haircut and manicure this morning. That's always a nice start, right? Then we went for lunch to Mr. Beef. Not terribly romantic but pretty darn tasty. LOL They have great Italian Beef sammiches although their gardinaria kind of sucks. Give me HOT, not bland. I always ask for triple extra and it still isn't hot enough for me.
Then we went off hunting for real Polenta. We got everything for dinner yesterday except the polenta. Our local grocery kind of sucks but I still thought they'd have it. I had some great real, long cooking polenta here but when we got those stinkin' little moths in the pantry that had to go to. I'm starting to wonder if I brought it home from Italy. Anyway...I figured that if any place had it the great little Italian grocery on Taylor Street would have it. You just don't get any more Italian than this little grocery on Taylor. They had that ick in tubes and the instant crap. No. I want REAL polenta. You know. The kind like real oatmeal. The one that you actually have to cook for 45 minutes or so. The yummy kind. That's what I want. Can you believe it?!
So off we went to Whole Foods. Tube crap and instant crap there too. But we did find some finally in the 'exotic grain' section. YAY!!! Life is wonderful, right? Nope. I don't know why I just assumed that because it was organic and all natural it would be REAL. Aaaarrrrrghghghghg! I really hope the Macarpone cheese will take care of the taste (or lack thereof).
So what's for dinner, you ask. I'm starting with a Baby Greens Salad with cherry tomatoes, dried blueberries (if we have them), sunflower seeds and a cranberry/walnut dressing. Then we're having Osso Buco on Mascarpone Polenta. Desert will either be cheese or cake. I have my homemade (by me) Limoncello to settle it all down afterwards.
The house is really starting to smell good. I suppose I should go start doing something else in the kitchen now.
Hope you all have a great Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fun, fun, fun!

First you get to see some rather bad pics of some beads I made last week. The beads actually look pretty good but I have trouble photographing those silver organic beads. Doing the photographs on a paper towel doesn't help either. Maybe once I get Kevan's tutorial I'll be able to figure out PhotoshopCS.

Or maybe not...who knows. LOL I'd just be happy if I could get the darn pictures straight on here.

So anyway I had a great day yesterday. My friends Darby and Janien have a hot glass studio in Indiana. It sounds like a long way away but it's really only about 45 or 50 minutes from my house. The weather totally sucked yesterday and we still got there in about an hour. I did torch but I don't think the Bead Gods were with me because I couldn't shape a decent bead to save me. I hate it when all I do is torture glass.
Darby was pulling cane and I actually helped a little bit. Not much but I can pretend, can't I? I've seen pictures of the process but have never actually seen it done. The glass was melted down cullet. I think the definition of cullet is basically broken up pieces of glass but there might be more to it than that. This particular cullet was Spectrum 96 glass and was the bits leftover from making sheet glass. Darby melted it down in a giant crucible at around 2100 F first. He then fires up the glory hole and puts a big rod in it (got your interest yet? LOL) to heat up a bit. He puts the rod in the molten glass and gets a small amount, relatively speaking for a glass beadmaker, on the end. He then shapes it with a very wet wooden mold into a nice round mass. After several times of this there's enough glass to pull. I held the rod end and he took the molten blob with a pair of giant square shears and pulled it down into about a 5-6mm around rod. I think the pull was probably about 30 feet long. It was basically from one end of his studio to the other. You let it cool for a bit and then cut it into workable lengths, usually about 13 or 14 inches long.
It was cold and windy in Indiana yesterday and between the crucible and glory hole the studio was a nice 80 degrees! If I stood by the glory hole for too long I felt like I was going up in flames. It runs at about 2100 degrees too and doesn't have a door! HOT HOT HOT! Can you imagine doing this when it's 95 and humid out? Might be a good way to sweat off a few pounds!
I sure have a lot more respect and awe for the people who do this for a living in a glass factory. Maybe I won't complain quite as much about those $40/pound hand pulled odd lots anymore!

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Applicant

How do they put the word out on the street? There's a whole communication system that we know nothing about except that it MUST exist. If we could figure it out we wouldn't need computers at all. We could just do the telepathic cat communication. I'd call it TCC. Sounds really official, doesn't it?
Right before Christmas, a beautiful orange long haired cat started coming up to eat out of the dry food bowl that's always on our deck. We have various and sundry critters that eat dry cat food. I've seen raccoons, possums, squirrels (yep) and birds (yep to that one too) eating dry cat food. Oh yeah, I've actually seen cats eating it too. :)
So anyway, this gorgeous, very skittish kitty starts coming around for some chow. Initially he'd run if he saw us looking at him but he realized pretty fast that if we were going to actually feed him we probably weren't going to hurt him. He took a few weeks but he got to the point that I could open the door to put out a bowl of canned cat food for him and he'd run but come right back up when I went in. He got less and less skittish when he realized that this nice hot meal was going to pretty much happen when he saw us.
During the week that Freckles was in the hospital he would actually run to the door when he'd see me with a can of food. Making progress here, right? The Saturday after Freckles came home, he looked at me, scrunched up his eyes and let me touch him. Well that was that. We became the very bestest of friends.
It took him a couple of days to decide that being inside in the warmth for at least a few minutes at a time was really a lot nicer than being outside in the freezing cold all the time. So he decided to fill out the application. While he was dotting the i's, crossing the t's and putting the paw to the dotted line, I was losing my Freckles.
How do I tell this lovely kitty who comes in my house, eats my food, uses my litter pan (and actually covers it!) that I just don't think he's my kitty. He's gorgeous, sweet and he's someone else's love. I'll take him to the vet and do that horrible deed to him but I am just not ready to have him in my life permanently. I will find him that loving home though and I'll take really good care of him until I do.
Patty, you reading this? :)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Open Torch

Oh, we had so much fun yesterday! I made some gorgeous (I hope!) beads and so did everyone else. We ate, had lots of cake and just had a generally good time.

This is Lana and Darby talking. See all those dipped mandrels? We used them all during OT!

Lordy, when did I get so fat and grey? LOL That's Patty on the other torch.

Everyone having lots of fun and concentrating on the fire.

Getting ready for cake. That's Lana giggling in the back, Darby hugging Ofilia who's trying to pretend she's not there and Patty waiting for cake. Today is Ofilia's birthday and Patty had a birthday a few weeks ago. Ofilia brought the yummiest ever canoli cake ever!

Cassie is making one of her amazing bicones and Denise is watching her. Cassie hasn't been making beads all that long and makes some incredible beads.

So this is what OT is all about. There's a bunch of people from our former OT who need to come and join us. Hopefully as the weather gets better they will be able to do that. I'll post pictures of the beads later in the week as I won't get them until then.

Friday, January 30, 2009


I'm so excited! I haven't torched since November (gasp!) and I am finally going to get to play with glass tomorrow. My friends Darby and Janien have a studio in Indiana and are having an Open Torch. We all bring our own tools and glass plus something for everyone to munch on and have a great time. I've already got my glass packed up and my tool box ready to go.
My favorite color combos are still opal yellow, rubino and copper green. I just love the spready thing that happens with those colors.
I have some of the new curdled ivory too but it's buried under a pile of stuff that I don't want to have to move. That's OK. It's been so long since I've made a bead I'd hate to waste it. It's a totally cool look too. I'll just take some regular dark ivory along and some black and play with those. Got my silver foil and wire so I'm set.
Ofilia will be there too. I hope she makes a fish. Her fish are so amazing! She makes it look so darned easy too. I could just sit and watch her all day.
I'm actually going to take my camera along for a change and may even remember to take a few pictures. It usually never comes out of my tool box.
Wish me luck at making a few good beads!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


One of the great loves of my life passed to another plane on Monday morning. This is my FaceBook tribute to him.

Ten years ago this long, lean magnificent kitty walked into my garden and my heart. At first his idea of really snuggling with me was to give my leg a headbutt as he walked by me. Purr? Not a chance. But as he got older and fatter, he realized that gettin' love was what life was all about. Well, love and food...he wasn't a 20 pounder for nothing. He did like his 10 squares a day. He realized that he wouldn't explode if he actually purred for us and started doing it loudly and often. He discovered the TV room couch and turned into the biggest lover ever.

We laughed when he snored while he was sleeping. He was a bit of a porker and I always figured it was just that. Unfortunately, it wasn't. It was the tumor growing in his trachea that was slowly restricting his breathing more and more. He spent last week in Northbrook Animal Hospital being diagnosed and on Friday I got the news that there was basically nothing left to be done. I brought him home that afternoon determined to spoil him rotten for whatever time he had left.

Over the weekend his breathing got worse and worse. By Sunday night I knew that Monday would likely be the day I had to say that final, horrible good bye to him. Monday morning he looked me in the eye and told me it was time for him to leave me.

He passed to his next plane swiftly and peacefully. There is a giant gaping wound in my heart right now but I know that he is free. He was a blessing in my life and I know he will be waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge when it's my time to make that journey.

Run free my friend, run free.


What better way to start a new blog than with a recipe for something I absolutely love to drink and love to make. Limoncello--the drink of the gods!

1 750 ml bottle of decent grain alcohol
3 750 ml bottles of inexpensive vodka
40-50 nice lemons
4 C sugar
4 C water (use bottled if you don't have good tasting water)
1 5 liter jar with a well fitting lid

Soak your lemons in hot water for about 5-10 minutes. It will help get the wax off them. Dry them and then carefully peel them with a new veggie peeler. You don't want to get any of the white bit from the inside on the peel if possible. Since it's pretty impossible to not get any, just get as little as you can. Put all the peels in your big clean jar and dump in the booze. Give it a good stir, close it up and put it in a cool, dark place for the next 40 days. During that time, give it a good sloosh every once in a while just to stir the peels up a bit.
At the end of the 40 days, strain the peels out. I get coffee filters just barely damp with water when I strain it because I don't want to waste the yellow lusciousness on a coffee filter. It take some time and more than a few filters. I've got 2 jars and just strain it from one into the other.
While you're straining it, measure out the sugar and water and bring it to a boil. Don't let it keep boiling, just to a boil. If you don't do that, the sugar will crystallize out into the limoncello. Not a good thing. Let the sugar water (simple syrup) cool to room temp and mix it in with the lovely yellow booze. Now close it back up and stash it back in that cool place for at least 2 weeks and up to another 40 days.
I save Sangria bottles with that little swingy hinge lid and then just bottle it up into those. You can buy bottles too if you need. Make some cute labels and you're set. I always keep a bottle in the freezer. Keep a couple of small glasses in there too.
After dinner, take the bottle out of the freezer and my chilled glasses and pour about an ounce. It needs to be absolutely chilled. Sip it and enjoy your lemony goodness. Be sure you start your next batch before you're close to running out because you really won't want to be without it.
All that lemon juice that you'll get from those 40 or 50 lemons gets put to good use too. I freeze it in ice cube trays and then use it in lemon martinis or vodka lemonades in the summer. Yummm, yummm, yum.