Oh my goodness, the past two weeks have been completely insane. I flew to New York for an internship, which resulted in me being stranded in an airport overnight. Next came the running around like a chicken with my head chopped off trying to figure out this internship. Now things have slowed down, though.
As I may have mentioned on here, I had a really amazing time a few weeks ago in Europe because of a really great guy I met over there. I decided to send him a thank you in the best way I know how: crafting.
I tried to make the flower look scribbly and I’m happy with the way it turned out. I sent this to him along with something uniquely Arizonian: prickly pear honey.
I’ve been AWOL from Tumblr for the past two weeks because I’ve been in Europe. More specifically, I’ve been in Germany and Austria, although I crossed a few borders into Switzerland, Italy, and Lichtenstein to geocache. And speaking of geocaching, before I left I made a final Giving Bunny. This one is special, though, because sewn into it is a geocaching travel bug.
I named him Magellan and dropped him off in Vorarlberg, Austria. Now I get to sit back and watch as he (hopefully) travels the world. If you’re interested in watching him, his current location can be found here.
Good luck, Magellan. Go forth and conquer.
Finals are over! Thank goodness. I survived the stress and even managed to get good grades.
This past week, I dealt with stress with a project that included both mindless work and chocolate, two things which I find to be very helpful when trying to calm a burned-out brain. I had some pretty nice chocolate in my apartment: individually-wrapped Toblerone pieces and individually wrapped Lindor truffles. Looking at the colorful wrappers, I found myself thinking about gum wrapper chains. I was fascinated by those chains in elementary school, but my braces prevented me from chewing gum. By the time they came off, the colorful wrappers had disappeared from gum packages and I was very disappointed.
Anyway, after a long day of studying, I found myself savoring chocolate and idly folding the wrappers into the familiar chain links. It didn’t take long before I ended up with a pair of bracelets.
I like them. They’re colorful and fun and the links are easy to change around if I decide I want to change the color scheme. Plus, chocolate wrapper bracelets are classy as long as it’s foreign chocolate, right?
It’s finals week. I’m stressed out beyond belief and have almost no time that isn’t devoted to reading textbooks, redoing homework problems, or going over exam solutions. I do need mental breaks now and then, though, and I like doing something mindless during these breaks. I like projects that will occupy my hands without utilizing any additional brain cells.
I have a shirt that is far too big for me, which I marked to cut into a tank top if I ever get a sewing machine. Along the bottom was a good five inches that could be cut off. I snipped off this excess and cut it into inch-wide strips, which I connected as though making fabric yarn. Then I did some finger weaving and came up with a bracelet.
I like three-finger finger weaving. It’s more aesthetically interesting than two fingers and less bulky than four fingers.
I might make more of these with some other fabric I have lying around. We’ll see. Maybe after I drill degenerate perturbation theory into my brain…
Anyway, good luck on finals to any students reading this. I hope you have a survival kit to help you pull through. XD Tell me, what do you do to de-stress after a big exam?
Reading books which describe food in great detail has the tendency to make me insatiably hungry. The Hunger Games was pretty bad in this respect. Game of Thrones is far worse. But no series has ever made my mouth water more than Redwall. Feasts are abundant in every book and every course is described in mouth-watering, excruciating detail.
Brian Jacques, the author of the series, wrote a cookbook which features many of the foods described in the books. I got it and have made many recipes with it. They were all delicious, but one greatly disappointed me: shrimp ‘n’ hotroot soup. It was nothing like what I expected: it was heavy on milk, light on broth, and not spicy at all. Maybe it’s my Jewish heritage, but when I read the word “hotroot,” only one thing comes to mind: horseradish.
I decided to mess around with ingredients and make my own shrimp ‘n’ hotroot soup.
Isn’t it lovely? It still wasn’t spicy enough, so I’ll have to think up what peppers would taste best with the other ingredients, but here is the recipe I created.
3 stalks celery, sliced
2 large carrots, cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1 small white onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes (undrained)
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish*
1 pound pre-cooked shrimp, shells and tails removed, thawed if frozen**
1 avocado, diced (optional)
Pour enough olive oil into a dutch oven to just coat the bottom and heat over medium heat.
Add the celery, carrots, onion, and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables just start to soften, about 8 minutes.
Add the broth, tomatoes, and horseradish, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 12 minutes. ***
Add shrimp and stir, cooking until heated through.
Ladle soup into 4-6 bowls and top with avocado if desired.
*I used prepared horseradish because you can’t find fresh here unless it’s Passover and you find a Jewish grocery. It isn’t nearly as strong as the real deal. If you can find it, fresh horseradish run through a food processor has a much stronger, purer flavor and I highly recommend it.
**I used the smallest shrimp I could find, which were 70/91 count cocktail shrimp
***If you prefer your soup soupy and not chunky, cook the vegetables an extra few minutes and use a blender or an immersion blender to make the soup smooth. If you do this, you may also want to chop up the shrimp before adding it.
In the books this soup was always enjoyed hot, but it tastes great chilled, as well.
Enjoy, my fellow book and food lovers! And remember what old Methuselah told Matthias, “Feed the body, nourish the mind.”
I get a lot of free magazine subscriptions. Because they’re free, I’m not always very picky when it comes to signing up. For a while I was getting Marie Claire magazine because I was told it had interesting articles. I quickly realized it was a fashion magazine primarily, with the few articles usually about “rich people problems,” like if it’s socially acceptable to not get botox. Needless to say, I quickly became bored with the magazines, but they were good for one thing: the fashion pictures and ads were very colorful. I decided to put those pretty colors to good use when I found a tutorial for making a bowl out of magazine pages.
It took a lot of pages and a lot of time, but I like the way it turned out. I sealed it with two layers of Mod Podge, so hopefully it will last a while. It’s pretty tall, so it should hold a lot.
It looks pretty cool from the top, as well.
It makes me think of cartoons when somebody is being hypnotized and they show that constantly moving swirl.
This weekend, I’m volunteering at Spring Fling, a four-day carnival run buy student clubs and organizations to raise funds for their future projects. A social change club I’m in, the Harry Potter Alliance, has teamed up with a leadership club on campus, Blue Chip. Together, we’ve decided to be known as the Blue Alliance.
While volunteering at the club, we wanted a way to show our connection as a team and what better way than with t-shirts. We combined the Blue Chip logo (a blue square) with the idea of Harry Potter and created a simple stencil that could be spray-painted in blue onto a white t-shirt.
It’s simple, clear, and just a little bit artistic. I am actually wearing this as I type, having recently come back from a full day of volunteering. Maybe wearing it around in public once in a while will prompt people to ask questions, so I can inform them about these two great organizations.
Fans of the webcomic xkcd may have seen Randall Monroe’s impressive movie narrative charts. The first time I read Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, I thought about how much easier the story would be to follow if I had one of these charts. This past winter, I reread the book and made note of where every character was at the beginning and end of each chapter. Then I grabbed an 11”x17” sheet of paper and drew out the narrative. To make it a little easier to see, I colored each character with house colors. Starks are grey, the Night’s Watch is black, Greyjoys are gold, Lannisters are red, Baratheons are yellow, Tullys are blue, Targaryens are maroon, Dothraki are brown, and those free from the constraints of houses are green.
A warning before you click to the full sized picture, though: this does, of course, contain spoilers. If you haven’t read the book or watched the first season of the HBO show click at your own risk.
Clicking the image from your dashboard might not take you to the full-sized picture link, so click over to the post itself if you want to see all the details.
Recently I ran across a campaign run by Save the Children. It’s an attempt to raise awareness about global hunger and increase activism around the world. The campaign includes making a jigsaw puzzle piece and sending it in to connect with a travelling art installation. I loved the idea, so I grabbed a scrap of fabric, found an inspirational quote, and whipped this up.
It’s far from perfect, but it gets the point across. Nobody should have to go hungry. Please spread the word and become a piece of the puzzle that will solve the problem.
Well, I crossed over to the dark side. I love books and I love to read, but I’ve always stayed away from e-readers. Reading is such a tactile experience for me, the coldness of using a computer just seemed wrong. Recently, though, I booked a trip to Germany for PCIM, an engineering conference. It was pointed out to me that the time in the air traveling one way is more than 18 hours. That doesn’t include layovers or traveling to and from airports. We’ll also be going back and forth between multiple countries, which means long train rides. You can only pack so many paperbacks, so I relented and got a Kindle Keyboard.
Of course, what does any gadget need? A snazzy case. Last school year, I used a hardcover Moleskine academic planner. At the end of the year, I ripped out the pages (the blank ones are what I’ve been using to practice calligraphy) and set aside the cover in case it could ever come in handy. It turns out that it’s the perfect size to turn into a case. A cereal box, some fabric and elastic, and a lot of glue later and I was set.