Fancy Homemade Oatmeal Flavors

This is rather a paltry introduction, but good food is one of those things that Jeff and I are pretty enthusiastic about. We like to cook, though often it gets pretty routine. Sometimes we are able to come up with really delicious new combinations, so I might as well share those here, too.

I’d gotten home late from the theatre one night this weekend, and suckered him into making crepes. (I make a mean pancake, but I can’t flip crepes to save my life.) Usually we eat them with a syrupy cooked fruit mixture and whipped cream, but this time we discovered that our frozen fruit was VERY frozen. Lots of extra ice all around the strawberries especially, but even the blackberries were pretty coated. Which meant there was much more liquid left when we were done than usual.

Now, if you’ve had the packaged instant oatmeals, you know they come in all kinds of flavors. And I thought to myself, here is a way of making a more authentic “strawberries and cream” oatmeal. So I stuck the pan of liquid in the fridge to save for the next morning.

Well, I got it back out and cooked the oatmeal directly in extra strawberry water, then scooped some leftover whipped cream on top and mixed it in. Let me tell you, the fruit flavor was intense! The whipped cream made it almost too rich, too – I was hungry enough that I wanted a second bowl, but had to make Jeff help me finish it.

I think “peaches and cream” should be doable, too – you can probably even start with a can of diced peaches, set half to two thirds of the actual fruit aside and use the rest of the fruit and its liquid as above (possibly with some watering down).

New Topic: The Basement Craft Area

Clearly woodworking did not turn out to be a topic which leads me to complex planning, introspection or eloquence. It may surface again from time to time as needed (I do foresee building an indoor [basement] fence/gate in the next year or so), but I don’t see it becoming a mainstay activity.

In other news, Jeff’s caught up again, but in terms of my wobbly-wobbly time tricks, I’m a little short on content to get you to my current costuming activities. So let’s do a little retrospective, and introduce you to the area where someday I hope to actually make said costumes: the basement steampunk craft area.

This has been a very multifaceted, long term project – and you  can probably guess that it’s not done yet! There’s still the need for that last little essential: electrical power for the sewing machine…

But first, wander with me back in time (and across the internet, because I’m lazy and can’t be bothered to go photograph an unfinished wall of my basement), and you’ll see where it all started: fieldstone walls. The ones in my basement had been plastered at one point, but there were still some bare stones peeking through, and an awful lot of cracks in and chunks coming out of the plaster. The floor was bare concrete (hence the acquisition of the epoxy shield I repurposed for the chicken coop). And while the inside of the stairwell had been drywalled, the part facing the basement was naked 2x4s and plywood. Oh, yes, and the pipes and everything were exposed on the ceiling, too.

Not actually my basement! Just a fairly representative image of a field stone wall from the internet.

New topic: Woodworking!

What can I say? I took a break from clothes. The tags (or some simple scrolling) will help you skip this section if you want. (And at some point maybe I’ll add more menu options. And then add posts about building websites. :P)

What got me into woodworking? It’s a little convoluted. The short version has basically two prongs:

– I went to an environmental school and helped raise chickens in 6th grade. My city now has a pilot ordinance allowing chickens through a licensing process. I want chickens, they need somewhere to live. Woodworking.

– I have actually used some power tools before. Besides sewing machines. (Can I just add that I think it is so funny that Husqvarna makes farming equipment in addition to my lovely sewing machine. I have to recalibrate my brain every time I go to the feed store now.) I helped build sets for several theatrical productions one summer…under heavy supervision. And Jeff and I (but mostly Jeff) have made a bunch of raised beds and a cold frame for our garden.

So needless to say I wanted to start small. Not with a whole chicken coop. We had a bunch of leftover boards that I (poorly) assembled into a bench. (With a little help from my mother-in-law, who not only owns a very handy chop saw but also provided a great trick for cutting two boards to the exact same length – stack them on top of each other!) So my bench now has a seat, and a back, and two wobbly little legs under the seat, and two identical long legs affixed to the back. It’s under a mound of snow right now, or I’d show you a picture. (Or would I? My mother saw it and thought I was finally getting over my perfectionism. Um…maybe not!)

In lieu of the bench, here is a nice view of my front garden, with a little bit of raised bed and some cold frame visible on the far side of the sidewalk. (And I’ve laid brick, too!)

First Topic: Sewing!

Hi there. I’m Elianna. I like textiles. And science fiction. And fantasy. And therefore, inevitably, cosplay. Historically-accurate garments, too, actually, but I need some more practice before I really go down that rabbithole. (Plus lots of other things, but those will be listed under a different set of tags.)

I was lucky enough to be gifted quite a lot of fabric by a friend of my mom’s. Some of it’s earmarked for particular projects (like the someday costumed trip that Jeff and I will take to Colonial Williamsburg). Some of it isn’t. You’ll see me make some adjustments and trade-offs to make the free fabric work. Because costuming can be an expensive hobby, and I’d like to avoid incurring a lot of cost before I really know what I’m doing.

Here’s the red skirt’s final appearance in a high school theatrical production of “Bullshot Crummond”. Think awkward James Bond.

I learned to use a sewing machine pretty young, if by “use” you mean “put in a straight stitch”. I think I was 7 or 8. My mom and I made a lap quilt together using t-shirts and bias tape. I really got going in high school. I started using patterns to make a skirt and vest (then added sleeves) and improvised a (non-matching) cloak.

The bridesmaid’s dress (and matching tie). I grabbed an extra chair sash for my waistband to provide an extra accent in the wedding colors.

I took a costume design class in my college’s theatre department, where they taught me new techniques like how to drape (something I should really try again) and how to use a buttonhole foot (which I’ve clearly forgotten). My mom and I went in on a new sewing machine together. She made my sister a t-shirt quilt, and now the machine is mostly mine. I bought an old dress form cheaply from a friend. Built a chemise, a 1950s style yellow polka dot dress (with two identical [not mirrored] shoulder straps), and a bridesmaid’s dress and matching tie. (Also curtains. So many curtains. Plus a baby quilt for Jeff’s cousin’s kiddo.)

The yellow polka dot dress – perfect for swing!
I can’t believe I forgot about the Tardis school girl outfit! I had a major error with the circle skirt, cutting it out using the diameter for the radius. Needless to say, it was shorter than anticipated! If the resolution is good, you should be able to zoom in for a lovely view of the time vortex-y outer skirt. And I was so proud of the freeform cap!
Also, accessories for a thrifted 1920s style outfit.











There’s the chemise!


And all of that more or less brings us to the present day and the projects I’ll be covering here!