Category Archives: Drama Box

Homemade Treats!

You guys can bake! Wow, I am amazed at how talented (and adventuresome) everyone is. As promised, I collected some of your photos you gave me on FB. If you gave me a bunch, I just reposted one.

I hope that some of these inspire you this weekend, and remember, it doesn’t have to look like the picture in book or on Pintrest. ;-)

Tim Vivian Stacey Simone Sarah Roy Rebecca Nickie Monica Mirela Michelle MFournier Megan Lisa Lindsy Lesley Lauren LauraK Laura Krystal Kim Kell Kel Kathryn Joyce Joni Jennifer Jen Jayson Jacqueline IrisMoon Iris Heather Gillian Em Elise Deidre Christy Chris Cheryl Ch'kara Cara BrookeL Brooke Becky Homemade goodies

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Little Chocolate Stonehenge

It took another cup of sugar and a few hours, but I got something that could be eaten this time! Sea Foam Candy. I have a few ideas on how to make it even better, but that’s for next year. I do believe I’m about all baked out.

seaFoam
This is the recipe that I used. http://www.cooks.com/recipe/7p1qo3g7/sea-foam.html The dipping chocolate was a pound of semi-sweet chocolate chips, an ounce of bakers chocolate, and an ounce of paraffin melted over a double boiler.

If you made treats as well, drop a picture on my FB page so I can see them! https://www.facebook.com/KimHarrisonsHollows?ref=ts

 

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Everything looks right if you dunk it in chocolate

My attempt at sea foam candy may have looked right, but I am clearly going to have to try to make it again today. The baking soda didn’t give it enough bubbles to lift the candy long enough for it to solidify. Either that, or I didn’t cook it long enough and it collapsed before it solidified, or the Karo syrup was old, which is a distinct probability since I think I moved it twice over the course of five years. Or perhaps the heavy day made a difference. Or the tablespoon of molasses I put in. I know better than to modify candy recipes, but the Karo syrup was really heavy and it needed to be cut with something. I’m also wondering if the instructions to add the vinegar and then cook it to 300 might be off. The chemist in me is thinking it should go in after taking it off the heat, right with the baking soda.

The chocolate covering it, too, wasn’t right, but I blame the vague instructions of “dipping chocolate.” I know what they mean, but I don’t have dipping chocolate. I have cocoa, and bittersweet, and paraffin. My “dipping chocolate” never got hard enough to handle. But I can fix that.

I’m a big believer in eating your mistakes, but it all went into the trash after I tried to eat a piece and it almost pulled out my tooth. I’m trying again this afternoon with fresh Karo syrup, a drier, cooler day, and my own recipe for “dipping chocolate” from another recipe I use all the time. Not to mention a bit of knowledge to “whip it, whip it good.”

Do I sound annoyed? Maybe a smidge. I hate throwing food and effort away, but even though sea foam candy is a treasured treat with lots of memories tied to Christmas, I’ve never made it before. It usually takes me a few tries at anything to start showing any signs of success.

So if I get my work done early enough today, I’ll give it another go. Tomorrow, pictures.

http://www.cooks.com/recipe/7p1qo3g7/sea-foam.html

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Rain

This morning, I was faced with rain when I woke up, which is about what I expected, seeing as I fell asleep to the sound of it on my roof.

I’ve got the best bedroom, if you’ll excuse me for a moment. We had it remodeled last year, which was more than repainting and new drapes. It involved taking out a cramped, tired bathroom that shouldn’t have been put in, which gave the room back its spacious feel. A kitchen was removed from the other side and changed into a more central bathroom that serviced the entire top floor. Ideally it would have been a private bath, but there is no way I’m going to put two bathrooms in the upstairs just to have a little more privacy when in a few years, that upper spare room is going to be a spare room once more instead of Thing Two’s.

We refurbished some of the now not-code windows, which make for a lovely nod to the age of the home. (130 years), and supplemented them with even more (which are code) to let the light come in all day. The floor was brought back to code, (it was built during World War II, and they tended to under build back then, though the 2X4s are really 2 inches by 4 inches) and all the walls now have insulation. (One of them didn’t.)

A defunct chimney was removed, and at the urging of our contractor, we put in a sky light in its place. Which brings me to my favorite part of the room. The ceiling.

Don’t laugh. It’s beautiful. My contractor had a vision, and I let him go. Despite my hesitation of having a no-space roof, he raised the ceiling to the rafters to help balance out the new size of the room, insulating them throughly before finding someone to rough cut a beam for the center support, staining it and the visually supporting rafters to match the dark color that 130 year old wood turns. Behind it is corrugated tin, which may sound odd, but it gives the room a wonderful back room, maid quarters look which is what he was going for. But the best part is how the light moves against the metal, picking up the dark of the beams and interspersing it with flashes of startling silver. There are shades there that don’t exist except for the mixing and bouncing of light that the corrugated tin cause, and I love it. Photographs don’t do it justice.

And with the rain . . . it is a beautiful thing to fall asleep to.

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Where’s the snow?

No snow. I’m so bummed. We’ve been spoiled the last few years with a white Christmas. But Guy is liking it, hoping to get out on the road on his bicycle this afternoon. Blahh. This means we’re going to have a cold summer. I know it. Although . . . I will admit I’ve been enjoying the mild temps as much as anyone else.

I put some time in this weekend to make up a candy-cane tea cozy, which sort of helps get me in the mood if the decorating, baking, and lights don’t. (grin) This year, though, I’m making stars as my knitting go-to. Soon as I have a few, I’ll take a picture. They are easy to whip up and don’t need a lot of thought.

CandyCaneTeaCozy

Book work is moving as expected this time of year, which means slow. I did dialog on Friday, which pretty well gets the chapter sketched out without putting in the effort in of actually writing it. It is okay as it is, but it bugged me all weekend, and I think I’m going to change the setting from an apartment to a more vibrant lunch room. I’ll have to drop the secondary-character development I put in, but putting them in the middle of a lunchroom has a much better chance of slipping world building and involving more than two characters. Since I’m at dialog, it’s not too big of a shift and it won’t slow me down much. Still, it’s going to mean a few more hours at the keyboard today.  Good thing it’s Monday.

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Feels about right

So, I’ve gotten up to about page 33 in the back burner work. I’ve given up on trying to take this slow, and I’m just going to do what I feel like. It goes contrary to everything I tell people when they are looking for advice, but since what I feel like is usually six hours M-F, not two hours twice a week, I don’t think it’s going to matter.

Page 33, brings me to the end of chapter three, and all ready Roy is now Dylan because I wanted to change William (tech guy) to Riley (tech woman) and it’s a no-no to have two people with the same first sound in their name in the same book. It’s not a big deal, but  if you can avoid it, do so unless there’s a reason for it. (like all of Jenks’ kids having the same first sound.) Trice (young girl snot) has become Walt (young boy snot) and though I ache to be letting such a great name like Trice go, I’m really liking young snot as a boy. The girl was cool, but the boy is charming. He’s got such a great ego, much like Jenks, I’m afraid. Even Jo’s boss has had a name change from Bob, which truly was nothing more than a place holder, to Lloyd, which captures his attitude perfectly.

If you look for names, check out this website from the Social Security office. I’ve used it for years. It has practical information about how a name has changed in popularity for over 200 years in some cases, but mostly I like it because they are real names and browsing about doesn’t get you diaper ads in your news feed. http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

I particularly like doing a search by year. If I want a dignified name or one for an older character who was born in the 30’s, I do a search on the 1930’s, and if I want one for a younger person, I hit the 2000’s. You can even search by area, making your character’s name very southern, or eastern, or west coast.

 

 

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If you build it, they will come

If you’ve been lurking about the drama box, you will probably have seen my sock feeder before, but I recently upgraded to a nifty version that has a filling reservoir. It took awhile, but they adapted. But by far the most important part of my feeders is the water. Guy got me a heated bird bath a few years ago, and I’ve never looked back. :-)

ChristmasCard

This shot is actually my old feeder, but it’s so pretty with the snow I had to share. I have a bad feeling we won’t be getting much snow this year. Guy and the I jinxed it by getting a snow blower, so you can all thank  us when there is no snow in Michigan.

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