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Posts Tagged ‘photograph’

As I recently outlined, this little guy is the reason that Lion’s Head Garbage Can can’t be named Crosspatch, even though I suspect that both represent the same children’s book character.

 

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The “Do One Thing” series chronicles my yearlong effort to tackle one project every day to organize my life and home.

Day 18: Put a blazer into the thrift store box. It’s a well-made wool blazer, but its cut is simply out of style and I don’t know when it’ll come back in style. I’m no fashionista, but in addition to being outdated, it’s also a little big for me.

Day 19: Manhandled my office bifold closet door to obtain the big Rubbermaid box filled with more photographs that I need to send to ScanCafe. Spent another 10 minutes trying to figure out how to repair the bifold closet doors so they both actually open and close. I hate those closet doors.

Day 20: Shredded documents like an Enron accountant, only with less desperation.

Day 21: Really started to dig into the photo box retrieved on Day 19. Remembered why every time I start to sort through this box, I quickly put the top back on and put it back in the closet. It contains everything from old photographs of family members I don’t remember to vacation photos from the late 1990s.

Day 22: I actually made headway on the box of photos, sorting out duplicates and choosing the best copies to send off for scanning.

Day 23: Finally bought the faucet, toilet paper holder and towel ring to go in the remodeled downstairs bathroom. This is why people buy new houses.

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Ran this image through the TiltShift Generator app and played around a little with the blur and color saturation settings. Cool results, but I would give it up if all this snow and ice would hurry up and disappear.

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In the end, I had no choice but to open the window, pop out the screen and lean outside to take this photograph, 25 degrees or not.

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I got cake balls right this year. I followed Bakerella’s instructions, for the most part, but I also scouted around on a few other food blogs to try to improve on my last effort.

I discovered four secrets:

  1. Chill the undipped cake balls in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to get them firm enough for dipping. If you’re in a hurry and decide to pop them into the freezer instead, prepare for cracked cake balls. I only used the refrigerator for this last batch, and I had exactly ZERO cracked cake balls. More than half of the previous batch, which all went into the freezer so I could dip them more quickly, cracked within an hour after dipping. Plan ahead and leave yourself plenty of time.
  2. Put the refrigerated cake balls on lollipop sticks before you dip them into the melted chocolate coating. This technically turns cake balls into cake pops. Go with it. Dip the tip of each stick into the melted coating before inserting it into a cake ball, then put the cake balls back into the refrigerator for at least five more minutes. The lollipop sticks make the coating process a lot easier, and, if you heed the advice in steps 3 and 4, they give you a more professional-looking product.
  3. Melt the chocolate coating in the microwave if you like, but hold it over simmering water in a double boiler to keep it thin enough while you’re dipping the cake balls. This will make the dipping process go faster, since you won’t have to worry about thickened chocolate that has to go back in the microwave every few minutes. Maintaining the melted coating at the same consistency throughout the dipping process simply results in prettier cake pops, too.
  4. After dipping the cake balls in the melted chocolate coating and letting the excess drip off for a few seconds, drizzle the wet cake balls with colored sugar or sprinkles — if that’s your decor of choice — and stick the clean end of the lollipop stick into a sturdy piece of Styrofoam (you may want to poke tiny holes in it before you start so the sticks will go in easily). This eliminates the flat spot and messy melted chocolate spread on the bottom of the finished cake balls.

I covered the business end of most of the cake pops with a small, clear treat bag and secured it with a small piece of Christmas ribbon, quickly tied into a simple knot (you can also just use twist ties). This made the cake pops fancy AND portable and helped keep them fresh for the better part of a week.

I won’t lie. These take forever and a day to make, and you’ll be cleaning chocolate smears off your stove and countertop and sweeping colored sugar off your kitchen floor for days. But well-made cake pops are beyond delicious and will impress the heck out of most people. Especially the 5-year-old princess fanatics in your life.

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I have a ramshackle collection of holiday decorating accessories — when you don’t put up a tree due to extraordinarily inquisitive cats, you make do with whatever fits on the fireplace mantel. You also don’t buy many new items, since that mantel’s not getting any bigger.

I couldn’t let this golden burst of sparkle sit on the shelf, however, when I found it at the New Leash on Life Marketplace today. Only 25 cents, too, since all Christmas items were half off.

I’m not entirely sure it’s going back in the Christmas box after the holidays are over.

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I found this little guy (or girl) traversing my front sidewalk today. Given the usual behavior of caterpillars and beetles in my front yard, I expect him to be in my kitchen tomorrow morning, ready to scare the sleepy out of me at 5:45 a.m.

He could at least stay for a chat, a la Alice in Wonderland.

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