Evolution of the spa turkey

I am gonna start out by bragging about my Thanksgiving turkey.  Best ever!  EVER!  And I never exaggerate.

It’s been 3 long years since I have cooked a Thanksgiving turkey.  How sad is that?  Here are my excuses, in chronological order.  Three years ago, my boy Bubba was in college and working at Target.  He couldn’t make the trip home for turkey day because he had to work at the ass-crack of dawn on black Friday.  So we went to scenic Fargo to celebrate.

Off on a tangent alert!  I don’t know what the heck I ate before we left home.  Over halfway through the drive my tummy rumbled and I got some major gastric distress.  You know that feeling, sudden bloating, and you just shamelessly pray for a gentle fart to release the pressure?  It didn’t work out so well for me that day.  More than just air in that fart.  I admit it – I sharted.  In the car. With That Man and Miss O.  No choice but to pull off at the next rest stop, where I had to dig through my bag and head into the sketchy bathroom to change.  They may have been my favorite underwear, but courtesy demands at this point that they be thrown directly into the trash can.  Back on the road, I knew I had a good hour-and-a-half of relentless teasing and shaming to endure.

Anyhoo…we had Thanksgiving dinner at a hotel buffet.  Meh.

The second and third years we ate at the Grand Hyatt here on Kauai.  I have a really good excuse.  (All of our worldly belongings were in storage, as we waded through the horrid process of remodeling our old, termite and roach infested house.)  They have a pretty good spread, especially if you are the type that likes sushi with your turkey.

What were we talking about?  Oh yes, my delicious turkey.  I have been brining my turkey every year for twenty years or so.  It really does seem to make the turkey moist and yummy.  I even have a dedicated turkey brining bucket!  Brining a turkey in Minnesota is pretty darn easy.  You get the turkey in the brine, then in the bucket, and set the bucket on the deck or in the garage. The weather is predictably cold enough  to keep it properly chilled.

That just ain’t so in Hawaii!  Can’t put the turkey in a bucket and leave it out unless you want to invite Salmonella to your dinner.  Light bulb!  I used a turkey size oven bag!  Mixed my brine, and into the spa goes the turkey!

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That birdie floated, breast-side down, overnight.  When it came out of the oven the next day, the anticipation was palpable.

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You can see some of the sage leaves I jammed under his skin.  The only less-than-perfect thing about a brined turkey is purely cosmetic – uneven browning.  No way around it.

This was, by far, the BEST turkey I have EVER cooked!  Today is Saturday, I just ate a turkey sandwich, and the breast meat is STILL moist!  Not exaggerating!  The moistest, most flavorful, Butterball of wonderfulness ever created.

So…I think this is extreme crafting and a life tip all roasted in one pan.  And the pan is disposable.

Stay crafty, my friends.

 

 

Finished is better than perfect

Usually.

I really like to remind myself that nobody will notice the little oopsies in my projects.  Nobody but me.  Especially if I keep my mouth shut and don’t point it out.  And then something like this happens.

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The bottom of a purse I am making.  All the little feet all neatly aligned.  Except they’re NOT!  I have no idea how I did this.  You can see the little x I made to show where that lower left foot is supposed to be.  So I hid it for an hour or so, then looked at it again.  The foot was still in the wrong place.

I pondered on it.  And then I pried off all the little feet, cut out another purse bottom, and re-did it.  Now I’m happy.

I think I just disproved my own theory.

So…today’s life tip is that finished is better than perfect.  Except when it’s not.  I guess it depends on the situation.

My brain hurts.

Stay crafty, my friends.

I Heart Hula: part one, in which we are introduced.

Last night we had our hula ho’ike. Our recital. Oh my gawsh, I felt like an honest-to-goodness hula dancer.

I was really awkward when I joined my hula class. Seriously awkward. The midwest is not exactly the hub of the hula world. Missouri? No hula champs in my recollection. Minnesota? Ditto. And Lutherans are not exactly known for their hip-shaking, joyous chanting antics.

Hula is active. Precise. And it’s hard. Like pat-your-head and rub-your-belly at the same time hard. Well, harder than that.

I don’t exactly have a dance background. The only dance classes I have ever taken were when I was in my late ’30s. We were living in Singapore. I took tap dance lessons at the American Club. Hit me up if you want to see a rather stiff “shave and a haircut, two bits!” I can also crack off a shuffle-ball-change.

Miss O was a cheerleader in high school. I went to every game. Football (which I like,) basketball (which I hate…it’s too squeaky.) A couple of soccer games. That was downright excruciating. Soccer players don’t want cheerleaders. Anyway, the point is that I watched a disproportionate number of cheerleaders, doing cheery things. Trust me, this will come into play shortly.

I couldn’t even decide where to look during my first few lessons. Feet are going. Hands are going somewhere else. Things are turning in opposite directions. AT THE SAME TIME! And then there’s the whole chanting thing.  In Hawaiian.  Often while doing all of the above.  I am entranced.

I kinda narrowed it down to the feet as a starting point.  Maybe if I wasn’t actually crashing into the other dancers I would have a chance.  The same general direction, you know.  Logic was on my side.  But we all know that the arms will have to follow at some point.

The arms.  Ahhh.  In cheerleading the coach claps and the hands snap into place on each count.  Pretty much the opposite of lovely hula hands.  Lovely hula hands look like they are dancing.  They tell a story.  They are graceful and smooth.  They are elegant.  Somehow my hands and arms tried to mesh the two, cheer and hula.  Chula.  Think about that for a while.

 

What good is my wallet if I can’t see it?

Well, I figured out what the problem is.  I’ve been making these wallets for my friends and everybody just loves them.

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I decided to actually try one.  So surfing ninja got the honor.  The idea of these fabulous wallets is that you can put your cell phone in there and carry it in lieu of an actual purse.  I even made a detachable shoulder strap for this one.

I was feeling all carefree and proud of myself.  Until I realized that I didn’t have my glasses with me.  My disappointment was palpable.

Let’s throw a life tip in here, since I seem to be slacking in the life tips category.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  You can quote me on that.  I need to see things, so my “in lieu of an actual purse” needs to hold my glasses.  Being a mother, I knew it was time for invention.

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Apparently nobody told my sunglasses they would be in a photo shoot.  Probably should have cleaned them.

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I can put my spectacles in the little compartment and switch ’em out for my sunnies when I go inside.  So now, in lieu of an actual purse, I can carry this vision of happiness!  I’ll just sit over here and feel proud of myself for a while.

Props to Emmaline Bags, creator of the pattern called the Necessary Clutch Wallet.

Stay crafty my friends!

Hey There Little Red Riding Hood. Or Distractions.

Is there anyone, anyone who’s into crafty stuff, who is not easily distracted?  I don’t think so.  I think that crafty minds are, by definition, easily sidetracked by pretty shiny things.  We wouldn’t have any inspiration if we kept our minds only on the task at hand.  We would all work on only one project at a time, diligent until completion.  Fabric stores would go out of business.  Craft stores would shutter their doors.  The world would be a grim place.

Thank the heavens it doesn’t work that way!  I had to take a moment there, I got depressed just thinking about it.  Let’s roll with this as today’s life tip.  Distraction is good.  Multi-tasking is good.  Pretty shiny things lead to the birth of extreme crafting.  That’s my theory, and I’m sticking to it.

I tend to gravitate towards large projects.  Like, really big ones.  After I taught myself to knit, I didn’t start whipping out multiple hats and scarves.  Oh no, not me.  I went right for the sweaters.  When I started quilting last year, I didn’t do table runners and mug rugs.  Nope.  Quilts.  Like this one.  For my king-size bed.DSCN2528

And now this one, the Aviatrix Medallion by Elizabeth Hartman.DSCN3633

More on that one later.  But you get the idea, right?  Sometimes even I question my rationale, as I add more projects to my pile of works-in-progress.  But I have had an epiphany.  For me it’s an epiphany, anyway.  I’ve crossed over to the dark side and started some small projects!  Yeah, I’m a little late to this party.  And I love it.  So those of you who have figured this out, long ago I am guessing, welcome me into your lair.

My entire circle of influence is just about covered with wallets now.  So look what I found, lurking around one of my favorite fabric websites, Fat Quarter Shop.  It’s called the Rose Red Woodland Doll pattern by Lella Boutique.  She turned out so cute I can barely stand it.

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In this picture she kinda looks like she’s got the mumps.  But that does not detract from her adorableness.  I love that her hair is made out of fabric.  And she’s wearing vintage boots, by the way.  She just amuses the hell out of me, so we did a photo shoot in the back yard.

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Here she is playing hide and seek in the ferns.  That’s her playful look.

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Now she’s sitting on the rocks of the waterfall.  Notice the thoughtful look on her face.

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Here she is crouching next to a ti plant.  Or maybe she’s peeing.  Let’s just skip this one. Now she’s just flat out embarrassed.  No more pictures.

Anyway, the point is that I had fun doing this.  No, I don’t have a little girl, nor a grandchild.  Only a grown-up sized girl, and she doesn’t want a new dolly.  I wanted a new dolly.  Don’t judge me.

Stay crafty my friends.

Only you can prevent crafting injuries

I haven’t injured myself today.  Yet.  A razor-sharp rotary cutter.  An iron set to linen, freshly filled with water.  That’s the one that got me yesterday.

I hate steam burns.  It’s so hard to muster up sympathy, they look red, but sometimes only if you look closely.  Stunningly no one looks at the pad of my left pinky closely.  I had to suffer silently.  I don’t like suffering silently.  Not without at least a little “poor baby” from someone.

So I guess we’re gonna start this off with a whizz-bang life tip!  Don’t put your fingers within an inch of a steaming iron.  I’m gonna go out on a limb and suggest not putting your fingers within 3 inches of a steaming iron.  If you must get your delicate digits in the vicinity of the iron, use an oven mitt.  Then send me a picture of you ironing while wearing said oven mitt.  I’ll laugh my ass off.

Craft safely, my friends.