Wednesday, November 26

the brining of the turkey

We are in preparation for Thanksgiving! Monday night I put a pot on the stove and mixed together some Worcestershire Sauce, Kosher salt, garlic and brown sugar to make a brine.

Brine (lat. saltus) is water saturated or nearly saturated with salt (NaCl).

Once the solution had cooled (I had heated it to help dissolve the sugar and salt), I added it to the turkey bag with some careful pouring. The turkey now sits in its brine, in my bottom right vegetable drawer in the refrigerator. Quite convenient! It's a nice 12.26 pounder, so it should take about 3 1/2 hours to cook tomorrow.

Hopefully the brine will help it be as moist as possible. The idea is this: "When water flows out of the meat, salt flows in and begins to break down some of the proteins in the cells. In the broken down state, the molecules become more concentrated and the solute levels rise within the meat. This causes additional water to flow into the meat." (Thanks to Cooking For Engineers' site)

I'll keep you posted!

There's Henrietta in all her brining glory.
Because she's being so sacrificial,
I feel the need to take good care of her while she's in our home!
So yes, I named the turkey.

Sunday, November 23

library of congress

Did you know that the Library of Congress has a Flickr account? (For those of you who are wondering what Flickr is: it's a photo sharing website)

Neither did I! (That is until a few days ago.)

It's an amazing collection of early 20th century history, but beware, there are over 4,000 pictures to peruse through! You can easily get carried away - or at least I can!

Friday, November 21

packages tied up with strings...

I was working on this design last night (before The Office started). I have a feeling I'm going need another supply of embossing powder before this Christmas Card season is over! Let me tell you, while I enjoy it, it is a bit of a tedious process. Tapping the extra powder onto a folded piece of paper, gathering it together, then tapping it back into its container, only to shake it back out again on the next card. Luckily the results keep me motivated.

On a side note: I feel the need to say "my grass is quite green!" You know how people have the tendency to think "grass is always greener on the other side?" Well, I am here to tell you that looking around recently, I think my grass is pretty green (how many times can I use that phrase?).

In all seriousness, I've felt very blessed lately in my current circumstances. I love that my job allows me to work from home (I am currently still in my pjs at the moment), which has benefitted me in numerous ways. It affords me the time to participate in clinical research at the hospital and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's kept me healthier the past two years. There seems to be enough time in the day to do some design work on the side for myself and for other clients. We've found a great little church in town with which we're actually getting involved (I just rewrote that sentence so that it didn't end in a preposition, pet peeve of mine).

So, in summary:
other than the cold winds that have swept into Chicago recently,
life is good and I'm thankful for it.

Tuesday, November 18

christmas cards

Here's a sneak peak of the cards I've been working on recently...with embossing!

The original design on computer:

And then, printed and embossed with clear powder:

This is another design I'm working on:

Monday, November 17


Last night we walked to the theater to watch Quantum of Solace, the newest installment of 007. We exited the theater a little less than 2 hours later to find ourselves among some of the fattest snowflakes I've seen in a while. It was officially our first snow. It didn't really stay on the ground as I hoped it might, but that's okay. I'm sure there will be more to come.

I realize that the composition is a bit of a no-no, being cut down the middle a bit, but oh well. I like the car lights left behind by someone who crossed the intersection, so I'm forgiving the composition for the moment.

Thursday, November 13

creative juices flowing

Sorry folks, I realized it's been nearly a full week since my last posting. My office/studio is in a bit of disarray as I have been experimenting with new designs over the last few days, in anticipation of the Christmas card season that is up and coming.

I'm also doing some design work for a client; would you like a glimpse? (I have no idea if that's the correct use of punctuation or not, I'm guessing not)

My first job out of college was for a Denver based hospice, as first the front desk secretary and then as the medical records coordinator (where my desire for organization was utilized to its fullest). I have since moved on from that job, but my former boss started a new hospice farther north and recruited me to do her print design. I'm a big fan of hospice and highly recommend it to anyone struggling to care for an ailing family member. It relieves the stress of being caregivers for the family as well as maximizes the comfort for the patient and often allows them to pass away at home. (steps off soap box)

In other news, I'm hoping to have some pictures of my new obsession with embossing soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, November 7

by candlelight

Today (and yesterday) I have been working by candlelight. We had a bit of a warm spell that is now giving way to cooler temperatures again and cloudy skies. I thought it was just about the right time to start pulling out the tea lights. Now, don't worry, I also have a window and the glow of a large monitor, so I'm not totally reliant upon candles to see. But it does add a nice ambiance to my office on these scarf and hat inducing days.

Tuesday, November 4


See proof of leaf below (along with "I voted" sticker):

okay, i'll tell you now...

Now that the cat's out of the bag, I can share it with the rest of you.

Courtesy of Hoffer Photography (their link is over on the right down there) I won my parents a free 2 hour photo shoot along with $25 towards prints they like. The contest started a few months back and I toyed with entering, but figured there was no chance I could win, so I put off putting an entry together. Then one week before it was to end, I had a few spare hours one evening and decided, "what the heck, it's worth a try!" With the help of some scanned in pictures and iMovie I put together a little video pleading my case. And it worked!

Tony is an old high school friend of mine (in fact, I believe we even went to nursery school together) and he's been doing some amazing photography work, so I'm very excited to have the Hoffers capture some great shots of my parents.

You can see the entry here on Hoffer's blog. Go check it out! And while you're at it browse through some of their recent shoots...great stuff!

Monday, November 3


Vote tomorrow, if you haven't already! And while you're at it, reward yourself with one or all of the following:

Starbucks: (from the website) "It will work like this: After you vote Tuesday (11/4), head to your local US Starbucks and we’ll give you a FREE tall (12 oz) cup of brewed coffee at no charge (limit one per customer). If you live in an area without voting proof, then we'll use the honor system."

Krispy Kreme:

Ben and Jerry's:

a winner!

I won something! It's very exciting, but I can't tell you what it is yet because it's a surprise for someone else and I haven't had a chance to tell them! Don't worry... I'll tell you soon!

Sunday, November 2

a dog's life

We dog sat over the weekend for one of my best friends and her husband. While it was enjoyable to have a dog around, I was quickly reminded of why we do not have one (yet). I wasn't even 24 hours into dog sitting when I found myself dozing off on the couch. Unfortunately, this was just about the time when he got the idea that he wanted to go out (probably for a walk) as he began a slight whimper combined with pacing around the coffee table. As I rose to put my shoes on (bleary eyed and half asleep - since it was my idea to do this) my ever so kind husband and his brother offered to take the dog out themselves (while I quickly returned to my sleeping state). This only proved to reaffirm the fact that having dogs (or kids) would require a team effort. So for now we will stay dependent-less and enjoy the freedom immensely.