Friday, April 5, 2013

Thank you note upgrade

If you knew me back in 2007, you may have gotten one of these little numbers in the mail to announce my graduation from Cal Poly. I got them made at Papyrus with my monogram on the front (yeah, that's right, those are supposed to be initials) and printed my own text on the inside. The intent was to save money on those absurdly expensive announcements the school sells, which I did. But, I was never very happy with the outcome. In fact, my brother-in-law mentioned that the front looks a little bit like something written in Arabic or Hebrew, and now that's all I see. So, I've had about 15 of these suckers sitting around my apartment for 5 and half years. Because I still engage in the (admittedly archaic) tradition of hand written thank you notes, I always try to keep a selection of note cards on hand, so I kept telling myself that I would use them.... but, I didn't. In fact, I continued to buy new thank you notes instead of using them.
Recently, however, I am on this quit-buying-things-you-don't-need-and-are-just-going-to have-to-pack-in-a-couple-of-months kick, and yesterday I realized that I am just about out of thank you notes. Damn it. I'm going to have to use them, aren't I? So, I did. I wrote a note in one. But, I couldn't bring myself to mail it. Too ugly, too weird, too self-serving.

In the past, I have made my own notecards from the blanks they sell at Michael's, and the internet is full of DIY notecard ideas. Surely, I could transform the ugly cards! The question was, could I do it without buying anything new? So, decided to try my hand at the pretty paint-chip crafts that are all the rage on Pinterest right now. I stopped in at the Home Depot and tried not to look too conspicuous as I select 5 paint chips from the wall.

The original plan of just cutting an oval to put in the center didn't work out quite like I'd planned. The ovals all looked a little wonky. I almost went and bought one of those fancy oval cutting widgets, but realized that would defeat the purpose. So, I switched to rectangles.

Scissors, paint chips, a scrapbooking adhesive runner, a Sharpie, and an hour or so and I've got upgraded notecards without buying anything new. They're not perfect, but at least they don't look like they're written in Sanskrit.

Monday, April 1, 2013

When Easter Attacks

Despite the ugly, baked eggs, Easter brunch was a success. In fact, it was such a success that today my sugar hangover rendered me useless. Despite a long and optimistic to do list, I did nothing. No, scratch that, I slept, and I made treats for my lab meeting tomorrow.

You may remember that I have little experience with candy making, and that I never even learned, growing up, how to make a proper Rice Krispy Treat. But, you know me, I don't start small. Why start with boring rectangular bars when you can make easter egg shaped treats? My original plan was to make this recipe from the Kellogs website that involves forming the treats in large plastic easter eggs and filling them with M&Ms.
Luckily, knowing that I will likely have to move before next Easter has curbed the purchasing of Easter decor, so I didn't buy the big plastic eggs that I would have needed to make them. Instead, I went with something much simpler. That is, wadding krispy treat up into the shape of an egg. Again, I should probably mention that I have never made rice krispy treats on my own with out supervision, so perhaps a traditional shape may have been the place to start, but the process went something like this:
  • Melt butter in bean pot on stove. Melt in marshmallows. Mix in generic crisp rice cereal. Stick clean hands into molten sugar and attempt to form into a ball. Look down at hands being scalded while covered in generic crisp rice cereal that wont stick together, and realize you can't even dial 911 because your hands are incapacitated. 
  • Scrape hands off on the side of the pot and stick them in cold water. Cover liberally with Pam out of an aerosol can (it feels so good). Try again. 
  • Form 15 wads of sticky treat and set on waxed paper, recoating hands with Pam after each scoop. Burn hands twice more on the still hot sugar at the bottom of the pan. 
  • Half-hazardly form each wad into an egg shape before it gets too hard. 
  • Get creative and smash these "eggs" into a bowl full of pastel sprinkles. Smoosh sprinkles into the eggs over the sink, successfully covering every horizontal surface in the kitchen with pastel sprinkles. 
  • Photograph with a cute bunny to make them look more like Easter eggs, instead of like "baked potatoes with glitter on them" or "genius baby brains" (thanks Dr. Mike).
I mean, really, what a difference a bunny makes:         `