Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Month of Letters

  As an avid member of Postcrossing (send a postcard to someone in the world, receive one from someone else) I was excited to learn that February is this year's month for the Month of Letters challenge.
   The idea is that you write a letter every day during the month of February; take a step out of the digital world, reconnect with old friends or make some new ones. It is considered cheating if you write all your letters on one day!
   We've signed up and think that, dear readers, you should too. You could post your addy's in the comment section if you wish to exchange letters with us personally (don't worry, I screen comments before they are posted so the whole world won't see them). I'll even thrown in a prize for most unusual/unique stationary- one of Valentine Air Mail pins over on our Etsy site. Just leave a comment if you are interested to exchange and add your e-mail so we can send your our addy. Before you know it- you'll make it through the month with letters and maybe some new pen pals! 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Happy Handwriting Day!

Today is Handwriting Day, so we made a treasury over on Etsy to celebrate!
   Take out those pencils, crack open a new notebook, write a letter-just no texting or tweeting please!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sad Monsters-A book review

   If you loved David Sedaris' "Squirrel Seeking Chipmunk", then you'll feel right at home with "Sad Monsters: Growling on the Outside, Crying on the Inside" by Frank Lesser.
    Who knew that monsters had so many problems? Well, besides Bugs Bunny when he gave that manicure to the big red monster in Looney Tunes. Apparently the monster's name is Gossamer...
   "Sad Monsters" is a collection of short stories ranging from Godzilla's existential crisis, "tried to self medicate by eating a pharmaceutical factory" and "stacked all of the buildings in Los Angeles on top of each other, but before I could destroy it, I was filled with overwhelming ennui"; to the section on Unsuccessful Monsters. Our favorite- the Merewolf (half vicious wolf, half fish) and the Creature from the Mixed-Race Lagoon (he gets snubbed from the White and Black Lagoon).
   Other sections of note?
   Bigfoot's letter about illegals from Narnia and across the border (chupacabra) who are stealing valuable sightings from his kind. The witch who is trying to keep he kids on a steady diet of kale before eating them instead of stuffing them with cookies. There's more than your fair share of passive aggressive ghosts, goblins and poltergeists. And then there's the section about unicorn nuzzling, which feels like, "taking a bubble bath full of giggling puppies".
  There are some stories that don't work quite as well; "Gremlin Owner's Manual", "Some Gorgons Have All the Luck" and "Kids Say the Darnedest Things" come to mind. These don't work mainly because you can figure out the punch line just by reading the title. Overall, Lesser's book is a good read, especially for those already familiar with the horror genre.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Valentines Day Goodies....

Mink Couture's Valentines Shop is now open!
Puffy Heart Wall Hangers

Valentines Day Air Mail Pin

Felted Heart Pin with Vintage Button, Dresden Wings
and Shrinky Dink Valentines Day Envelope

"Key to my Heart" Ornaments
Want a custom made item? Just ask!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Python Killer...Qu'est-ce que c'est

   With the debate heating up about gun control, it was surprising to read about Python Challenge 2013. The burmese python is seen as an invasive species in the Florida Everglades and authorities think Python Challenge 2013 is just the remedy. 
   Here's the go to the Python Challenge website and pay $25 to register. Then you fly down to Florida and you kill some pythons. There is prize money for the longest python and the most pythons killed. Yup..nothing says helping the environment more than a bunch of liquored up corporate hotshots blasting some pythons to bits in the Everglades....You can even buy a Python Challenge patch to sew onto your hunting jacket. 
    Though, there are guidelines to "harvesting pythons". Mainly, don't mess with anything else in the Everglades except for the pythons. So, you should probably watch out for the panthers, bears, storks and deer that will be keeping you company as you hunt for pythons. Granted, Python Challenge happens in Feb., you will also be competing with mosquitos. 
    Now, don't think you can just heard a bunch of snakes together and dynamite the crap out of them. There are many rules and regulations that you have to follow including how to kill them. The snakes have to be killed humanly and according to the American Veterinary Standards. You can put a bolt through the snakes brain, you can shoot it through the brain or you can stun it then decapitate it and then shoot the decapitated head. Now how a person can keep a python's head still while another guy shoots it in a very specific area....thats a trust building work exercise!
   What's even more bizarre are all the rules and regulations and the 30 minute training course that you have to take. 
  Now you can read the Chicago Tribune and the Bloomberg TV articles on the subjects if you think this is sill some crazy joke; its not. This is supposed to be the way to control the python population that is raging out of control due to the exotic pet trade. 
   All I can picture is a bunch of guys cornering a python against a tree, ready to blow its head off....and behind them is a gang of pythons hissing/laughing and saying.."ready boys" as they are about to eat the hunters....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The post holiday Holiday

     Yesterday (Jan 5) was Twelfth Night. Time to take down the decorations and eat cake. Any holiday that has cake at the center of it is for us. Though we save our cake eating for Mardi Gras. Since we don't have a big crowd over in the post holiday days, a nice hard cider from the local apple farm will do in place of traditional wassail.
    A new year always brings the dreaded resolution list and if you wait a month, you get to make your list of things to give up for Lent. Here's the thing, resolutions are supposed to be things you will try and do, or things you will try and do better. Resolutions aren't supposed to be about dieting, or cutting things out of your life. You are resolving to be a better you. Instead of dieting, resolve to eat more vegetables (chocolate beet cake does count as a serving of vegetables), or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
   We resolve to:

Write more letters!

Write more in this blog (who knew that mince pies would be what everyone wants?)

Try and get to the next level in our French lessons.

Travel more.

Any ones to add or ones that you, dear readers, are going to do?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mince pies for the New Year

    I know, I know...mince pies are supposed to made and eaten during the Christmas season. Well, between having a Christmas birthday and baking for parties, I thought that mincemeat works just as well for New Years. 
   I've always wanted to make mince meat pies or tarts, ever since I saw "State Fair". They make mincemeat look so delicious. I cheated and bought my mince meat from Dean and Deluca, sadly it was only sold for the Christmas season. It is made in small batches in Ireland and has sharp notes of orange and Guinness. I made a simple Pate Brisee and plunked the mince meat in the tart shells, popped them in the oven for about 20 minutes and had some tasty tarts!
   Use any Pate Brisee recipe that you want, I used Joy of Baking. There is also some debate to what kind of dough to use. Some people prefer a puff pastry, the pate brisee is much easier to make in my opinion. 

A food processor makes fast work of the dough.

A vintage flour duster and some sil pat help prevent the dough from
sticking. Also, those yellow bands-they make sure your dough is consistent
in thickness. 

A cradle shaped tart pan-how mince pies were traditionally made to celebrate the
birth of Christ. 

Add plenty of filling-no one likes a stingy mince pie!

Top with a dough shaped star

Tarts ready for baking

Finished tarts-They taste best straight from the oven