Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spring Break

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Today is the last day of our week long spring break. We didn't go anywhere, but we tried to make our time at home as relaxing and vacation-like as possible.

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The weather was gorgeous this whole week.

Tomorrow we return to math, science, reading, and lots of history. Blaze only has four days left to finish his display board for the homeschool International Fair at the public library on Friday.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Our Weekend With a Rental Car: Arti Gras, St. Augustine, and a Fairy Garden

We have not been getting out much. Our car has become very unreliable. I can't start it at all. Although DH can get it started, he has only been taking it to work and taking us to the grocery store, since the mechanic told us that the more we drive it, the more likely we are to kill another starter.

We rented a car from 5:30 p.m. on February 20th, until 5:30 p.m. on February 23 and fit as many fun activities into those three days, as we could.

Saturday we got dressed up and went to Railroad Square Art Park for Arti Gras.

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This is a small Mardi Gras style event with live music, food venders, and a small parade.

The parade:

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Sunday was also a day to play dress-up, only this time we headed to St. Augustine for an outing with members of the Central Florida Steampunk Association and The Cowford Steampunk Society.

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Monday, Blaze and I went to see a private garden we had been told about, here in Tallahassee. Lichgate is a lovely little cottage with an enormous live oak tree in front and gardens on two sides.

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The children's Shakespeare garden:

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The maze:

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Green Tea Swirled Pound Cake

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Green Tea Swirled Pound Cake

2 3/4 Cups sugar

1 1/4 Cups softened butter

5 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla 

3 Cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Cup sour cream

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a large bundt cake pan with Baking Pam.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar. Add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream beat until well blended. Scrape the bowl occasionally. In a separate bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together. Gradually add the dry mixture to the batter, beating in between each addition. 

Place 1/3 of the batter in a separate bowl and add 4 teaspoons of green tea powder (macha). Mix well. 

Use 1/3 of the remaining white batter to make the first layer in the bundt pan. Cover that layer with 1/3 of the green batter. Continue alternating white and green batter until all the batter has been used. Smooth out each layer after it is added. When the top layer has been smoothed, take a butter knife and stick it into the cake at random spots all the way around (this will cause the swirled effect). Smooth the top of the batter again.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until a skewer stuck into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Strawberry Shortbread Cookies

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Strawberry Shortbread Cookies

1 cup of butter, softened (2 sticks)

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup freeze-dried strawberries, ground into a fine powder in either a food processor or blender

2 cups of flour

Use a low setting on mixer to blend room temperature butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add powdered strawberries. Mix well. Add flour a half cup at a time, mixing until it is all incorporated.

Roll the dough out in a sausage shape. If you wish to add colored decorating sugar, roll the dough in about 2 tablespoons of red sugar, Wrap the sausage-shaped dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. The refrigeration will make the dough easier to slice.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

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Slice and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. The cookies will not spread while baking. They shouldn't touch, but they can be placed about a centimeter apart and it will be fine.

Bake 10-12 minutes.

The round slices of dough can also be easily shaped into hearts before baking.

If you do not want to use any artificial food coloring in your family's Valentine treats, these cookies, minus the decorating sugar, are a nice pink color without anything artificial.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Comic Book Hat

My white top hat has now been made-over to match the boots. It turns out that one jar of Mod Podge is exactly the amount needed to cover one pair of Victorian boots and one top hat. There were also enough great pages in that single Girl Genius comic book to do both projects.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Steampunk Comic Book Facelift for my Boots

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I kept seeing a tutorial on Pinterest for comic book shoes, made by covering a pair of ballet flats with colorful pictures cut from Spiderman comic books: I thought it was a cute idea, but I didn't have a pair of ballet pumps. What I did have was a scuffed up and stained pair of white Victorian boots and a used copy of a black and white Girl Genius comic book that I purchased for $3 at Goodwill. So, I created the steampunk version of this project.

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I did make one change to the original instructions. While the comic book shoe tutorial used regular Mod Podge, I chose to use dishwasher safe Mod Podge, because I was concerned about how the boots would hold up if it rained or I stepped in a puddle.

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The comics are attached with Mod Podge and the covered with three protective layers of Mod Podge.

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I replaced the dirty white shoelaces with sheer black ribbon that was left over from Christmas.

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I like the way these turned out so well, that I'm considering doing the same thing to my white top hat, which has started to discolor a little.

"I can't believe you're decoupaging boots!"

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Saturday at Renninger's Steampunk Industrial Show

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This past weekend was Renninger's Antique Center's Steampunk Industrial Show, which is very much like a steampunk convention without the panels, but with the added bonus of having many rooms of antiques to look through.

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We arrived later than I had hoped, because our first stop of the morning was at Costco to pick up a refill of Blaze's anti-seizure medicine, since we had foolishly left that at home.

We all had a good time once we got there, though.

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Blaze especial enjoyed himself.

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We went to Renninger's steampunk event last year in January, as well, but this year there was even more entertainment, including the fire dancers from Phantasmagoria.

And what is better than watching people play with fire? People playing with fire during a The Cog is Dead show!

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There were lots of vendors of steampunk merchandise.

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There were also some very creative vehicles there.

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Although we were too late to see it inflated, the Airship Diamler (shown here) does have an airbag, but the wind was so strong on Saturday, that it tried to blow away and landed on top of some people sitting at a near-by picnic table.

These next two were built by the people at the Time Bandits shop:

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Renninger's in Mount Dora, Florida will be having another steampunk weekend in the Fall, Oct.17th and 18th.

Crafty Crow