19 June, 2014

Summer Child

{My skinny mini 1980's self enjoying my grandparent's sprinkler,
 just as much as my skinny mini 2010's self enjoys an empty pool, a rubber raft, a book and a cocktail.}
A few weeks ago, I was at my sister's.
Hangin' out, keeping watch over her littles.
The Dudes were out front,
cleaning up what in my mind was about to become a major disaster
involving a broken bucket, a push broom, and a pile of dirt in the driveway.
I had just taken E upstairs and was singing her to sleep with a cautionary tale about Brenda and Eddy.
Through the open window next to me I heard giggling
coming from the general direction I had left the boys sulking in.
The giggling kept getting louder and louder until it was directly under me.
And then I heard water running.
And shrieking.
And O yelling "Time tunnel! TIME TUNNEL!"
Just like the conductor on Dinosaur Train, his favorite.
I wasn't sure I wanted to know what was going on.
My curiosity eventually got the better of me, though, and I walked out to see two little boys,
hair dripping, wearing nothing but wet shorts and big goofy grins.
(They had gotten dirty sweeping up the dirt and had to hose each other off, of course.)
While I was drying O off and getting him ready for a nap a little later,
I asked him about the time tunnel.
His eyes got all twinkly and his grin once again got big and once again got goofy.
"It's nothing."
he told me, giggling.
And then he went to sleep.
But a few days later, I got it.
I had just turned on the hose to rinse something off.
As soon as that water hit the air,
got it.
The smell of the sun and rubber-warmed water transported me back to so many
childhood summertime memories:
running through the sprinkler, "swimming" in a plastic wading pool,
and, of course, rinsing off the dirt of a hard day's play.
The hose was a time tunnel.
 Probably not the same time tunnel my three year old nephew was experiencing,
but no less magical.

16 June, 2014

The Honeysuckle and the Bee

It was one of those super hot nights last summer.
Too hot to sleep.
Instead, I was wasting the soup-thick moonlit hours lingering over images,
finding inspiration but not the energy to do anything with it.
Too hot.
I paused for a long time on  Local Milk's post about honeysuckle.
It sounded like a dream.
And at this point, it was a dream.
The summer sun had long ago dried the sweet blossoms that grow like wild weeds around the perimeter of the yard.
Next year, I promised myself.

So, when the tiny flowers bloomed again come late spring,
I kept my promise.
On a particularly bright and sticky late Sunday morning I set out,
my bare legs seemingly singing out a silent siren's call to every mosquito in a ten mile radius.
But I didn't care.
I was gathering honeysuckle with intent.
I just didn't quite know what that intent was yet.
As my basket filled with fragrant blooms, my mind drifted.

Eggs. Sugar. Cream.
Such deceptively simple ingredients yielding infinite possibilities.
Ice cream it would be.
And ice cream it was.
I set forth, sans recipe, with a vague knowledge of what I was doing and a whole lot of honeysuckle.
And, you guys, it was a dream.
A perfectly captured, edible snapshot of summer.

Honeysuckle Ice Cream
4 cups honeysuckle
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
8 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Gently rinse the honeysuckle, picking out any leaves. Allow to dry on a towel.
Combine the honeysuckle flower, milk, and cream in a bowl.
Cover and let sit in the refrigerator 24 hours.
Strain the milk and cream through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer into a heavy saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a boil; remove from heat.
Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
While still whisking, very slowly add the hot cream mixture into the bowl
(you'll want to keep whisking so you don't cook the eggs).
Return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until a candy thermometer registers 170 degrees F.
Pour the mixture through a strainer into a large bowl.
Place the covered bowl in the refrigerator overnight or until the custard becomes chilled.
Pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.
Place finished ice cream into an air tight container and place in freezer for a couple of hours before serving.

11 June, 2014

It's Only A Change of Time

It's such a strange concept, when you really think about it.
It seems to exist on two liquid planes; polar opposites.
Long moments tick by, honey-slow, sixty seconds seemingly stretching themselves to fill in the space of an hour.
Or, the minutes seem to flow past lightning quick, as if moved by a current, the second hand spinning like a child's top gone out of control.
We humans, too often not content to simply exist in the moment,
view time through a haze of "the grass is always greener":
silently willing those slower moments to get on with it,
places to go, things to do,
thumb twiddling not among them;
desperately clinging to the wings of the moments that fly,
begging, pleading for it all to just slow down,
even if just briefly.
But time isn't the one at fault.
Time is a constant.
Non-changing; solid and true.
It's us.
Always so busy, rarely remaining idle.
It's the world we live in.
The constant hub of life spinning around us, like that out of control top.
Pulling at us,
on the outside feeling the drag, those moments seeming to stand still.
From the inside we are pushed,
everything rushing past too quick, a whiplash of time speeding by.
{Clocks by Bee Vintage Redux. That's me.
 Made from repurposed vintage china plates and wallpaper.
They will be debuting for sale at Clover Market in Ardmore, PA, next Sunday, June 22.}
 To freeze time is a lovely idea.
Hold on to a single perfect moment for as long as possible.
But that's what our memories are for.
Infinite space within our brains to keep hold of those perfect moments.
As for time, well, maybe we should just try to accept, enjoy those moments for what they are:
Live within them.
You'll be a much richer person for the experience.

05 June, 2014

Another Roadside Attraction (Vol. 1)

Road trips.
A quintessential summertime activity.
I had this idea, last year, that the lot of us could take a virtual road trip together.
Visit all of those tacky, kitschy roadside attractions that have pretty much no sense of purpose other than to lure in tourists with their quirk and eccentricity.
But I got lazy.
And it never happened.
So let's do it his summer, shall we?
It'll be fun.
Every Thursday, we'll put on our cut-offs and tank tops, jump into some rusty old clunker of a car, roll the windows down (with a hand crank, of course),
slip some Tom Petty into the tape deck, and set out on down the highway.
Every week, a new stop.
Each more bizarre than the last.

{This giant dinosaur, originally a Sinclair Oil gas station in Spring Hill, Florida,
is located just a few miles down the road from where my grandparents lived
when I was a kid.
It still stands today, just as it did then, operating as an auto body shop.
Image via Google images.}
Buckle up, kids.
This should be a fun ride.

04 June, 2014

99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall

You guys still around? 
Probably not. But that's ok. I doubt I'd stick around, either.
I'm such a flighty blogger. 
I think I made a resolution to do something about that. 
In 2013.
Regardless, I'm back with a new post.
Just shy of five months after the last one.
But I've been busy in that five months. Very busy. Thinking.
Thinking very very hard about this:
Just before Christmas, I was vending at a show, selling people hooks like they had nothing but
hang ups.
Bad pun.
friend of mine made a brilliant suggestion:
"You should make bottle openers."
Yeah. I should.
Seemed simple enough.
Except, how can they mount to the wall?
They've gotta be pretty secure, you know?
When I finally figured it out, the answer was so simple it was almost stupid.
Kind of an "A-ha!/ Duh!" moment.
So I made some.

And immediately sold some.
And now I'm making some more.
Pretty ones, covered in delicate bouquets of vintage flowers.
Because I like pretty things.

And some that are covered in maps, of lands both far off and close to home.
Because everybody belongs to somewhere.
And maps are cool.

So there we have it.
A new product for summer (and a goal met).
If you want one, you can find them here.
And I've graced you all with a new post.
Which makes me happy.
Today is a good day.
xo and bottoms up!