Making a Cooper Ring

Copper. Cooper. It's still wearable.

Okay, this is gonna sound pretentious as hell but it’s the truth. When the Husband and I honeymooned in Paris a kabillion years ago, we went to the Les Puces de Saint-Ouen, that famous flea market. At the entrance of the market was a man selling handmade copper jewelry. At that time in our life, I hadn’t been actively studying French so I could only say a few words. But this man, thankfully, spoke English, with a heavy African accent. He looks at me and says, “These are made of cooper.” I say, “Oh, copper!” He says, “No, they are COOPER! COOPER!” My eyes widened and I said, “Okay, cooper!”  I picked out one necklace for myself and one for my mom, paid and went on my merry way. When I returned a couple of years later with my mom, I looked all over that market for that man but as with life, things change and people move on. He was nowhere to be found. He lives in a corner of my mind as an amusing anecdote. Cooper!

I’ve been seeing all sorts of killer handmade jewelry on the internet, made with some interesting materials. I saw that someone did this ring, made of a glass bead and copper wiring. I had to make one!

Yeah, about that, “ring that I just had to make!” Being as I have never made a ring with wire and that I didn’t even have the right tools hardly deterred me. I ended up buying some copper wiring at Lowe’s. It was much cheaper than the craft store and the local hardware store didn’t carry any wire that I could use. A few months ago, I bought a giant vase of costume jewelry at Goodwill, intending to take apart some of the pieces to use for other crafts. One of the necklaces is made of the most beautiful glass beads, individually. Together, it looked like clown vomit, a unholy mixture of color. I popped off one of the beads and measured off about maybe a foot (or two feet) of wire? I wrapped it around and came up with a wearable ring (see above). Not nearly as nice as the tutorial. I’d love to practice a little more and try to make something a little more polished but, eh, **shrugs shoulders**, it’ll do for now. I’ll be rocking this COOPER! ring for a while.

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Ugly Name Tag

I hate you name tag! This is about as janky as it gets.

Ugh. We have to wear name tags at work. I hate having some rando at work come up to me, look at my badge and start using my name like we’re BFF. It’s okay that you know my name but don’t pretend like we’re friends when I don’t know you. Especially when I don’t know your name. Unwelcome familiarity. Unfortunately, it is what it is.

Anywho, when you’re hired at my place of employment, they print up your ID card and hand you a lariat to clip it to and for you to wear around your neck. Some people like it others don’t. I like to clip my work keys on the lariat. I’m a forgetful person. I thought if I clip the keys to the ID, I’ll never forget them. Yeah, good in theory, not in practice. I’ve only forgotten my badge twice (yeah me!) but the clip broke within a few weeks and the hole on the ID card to string the lariat thru broke shortly afterwards. I then bought a cheap plastic  ID badge holder to slip the ID through. That broke after a month. I was using packing tape to hold it together.

So, we’re at a recycle place here in town and it dawns on me…what about a luggage tag? It’s meant to take a beating, right? They had hard plastic luggage tags for a dime! I also had some pretty pieces of scrap wallpaper. I’m thinking, “what if I glue the wallpaper to the back of the luggage tag and string the lariat thru and voilà! indestructible name tag. If only life were so simple…

First off, in order to prep the plastic for the glue, I had to clean it off. Water got underneath the soft plastic window, where you can see the ID. It was adhered so tight to the hard plastic backing, I had to stick my size 00 knitting needles inside to dry out. The knitting needles promptly rusted, leaving dusty little lines inside that I can’t clean.

Secondly, the Mod Podge glue, despite the instruction saying the opposite, did not work on the hard plastic back.The wallpaper peeled off after drying overnight. Tried a different glue with similar results. Most people would have given up but I am an idiot. I then found some old address labels, struck them on the back of the plastic and then put the damn glue on top of the label and then stuck the damn wallpaper on the glue. Peeled off after a few days of drying, leaving behind bits of the back of the wallpaper. The labels are stuck for life.

Instead of giving up and buying a nice rubber badge from Office Depot like a sensible-minded person would, I then proceed to paint little branches with red blossom-like blobs on the back of the tag, while spilling paint on my favorite jeans. I shellacked the hell out painted picture with Mod Podge, which finally works for something.

Once it dries, I notice that if I put my ID in the front plastic, I cannot get it out. The tag is too long and my ID is too short. I proceed to use a razor to cut a hole out of the plastic so that I can easily remove my ID when needed. It is a raggedy jagged edged hole that will cut your fingers, but with caution I should be able to slide my ID out. Yeah it works!

But the lariat has a hard plastic ring on the end that doesn’t come apart. I can slip the ID in the luggage tag, but I can’t put the tag on the lariat ring. Finally, I find a key ring small enough to fit in the lariat ring and small enough that my ID can slide over it when I need to pop it out. Two months later, my coworkers finally notice my name tag. I died a little on the inside.

Lasagna Cupcakes

Crappy photo but you get the idea, right?

I am a hardcore coffee drinker. I almost feel like I need an IV in my arm for my coffee fix. But here’s the weird thing: I only like to drink one (large) cup in the morning and I like my coffee with a lot of cream. Not so much that it’s milky, but I like a lot of cream. Because of that, we always keep a carton of half and half in the fridge. But how I ended up with three cartons in the fridge is kind of a mystery. I mean, we like cream but jeez Louise, not that much….Then it hit me, I could make some ricotta with the cream and do up some lasagna cupcakes! Hells yeah!

Ricotta is fairly easy to make. You need some cream, salt, vinegar (or lemon juice) and some cheesecloth to strain it. Here’s Ina Garten’s recipe.  I’ve made it before, (along with mascarpone cheese. Not making that cheese again). It turned out really really delicious. Especially mixed with a tiny bit of salt on a piece of hot toast.

With lasagna, I love lasagna but since we only have two adults and one picky five year old, it’s too much to make a full pan. It will usually go bad before we finish it. I ran across this recipe and it solved two problems in one go: We can control the portions and we didn’t have too many leftovers. Oh, and everyone gets a crusty edge!

I made the cupcakes a while ago and they were a success. I didn’t follow the recipe completely.  I used some lasagna noodles we had on hand and I used some pesto in the sauce but SUCCESS! I might add some spinach if we have some on hand. I’ll report back if it’s a success.

P.S. I have no idea what Ina means when she says use a good vinegar for the ricotta recipe. Is an $80 bottle of artisan vinegar good or is my Heinz 57 vinegar good? She likes to tell you to use a “good” something or other without clarifying what she means. If “good” means “expensive”, why doesn’t she just say it?

Things I Like/Things I Don’t Like 2/10

Om Nom Nom. Nacho Cheese Sauce pic from Serious Eats.com

Humble Reader,

This past month has been cray cray! Glad to be blogging again and getting back into a comfortable groove.  Here is my list of Things I Like and Things I Don’t Like:

Things I Like:

  • Unseasonable warm weather. I can just give up my dreams of snow unless we head to Mt. Hood
  • Edible Star Glitter. OMG! I just discovered this. Buying some this weekend!
  • Nacho cheese sauce. I don’t care if it’s a billion calories. It’s still delicious.

Things I Don’t Like:

  • People who are late. I can forgive a lot of things but I HATE lateness. My time is just as important as yours. Be on time!
  • Superbowl/Football. I just don’t like football. This comic sums up how I feel. ( I love The Oatmeal!)

Have a splendid weekend!

Everything’s A-OK

Well, my mother has been out of the hospital for a week now. She’s doing great! They removed her gall bladder and the doctor commented that she had to have been a strong woman to endure as much pain as she did considering the condition of her gall bladder. He said it was the worst looking gall bladder he had seen in years. It had a stone so big that it had blocked off the exit ducts–not a doctor, trying to explain this as best as I can.

Apparently, her body had been sending all sorts of SOS messages for years but unless you know to look at the gall bladder, it’s not something that is very apparent for doctors to consider.

But she’s out of the hospital, doing great and sounding like a million bucks. Who knew that just having this health issue resolved would make her sound twenty years younger. She has so much pep in her voice now, I actually didn’t recognize her voice when I called her the day she was released.

I’m trying to convince her that she needs to take another trip out here in the summer since she’s feeling better. I want to take her to some of places that she couldn’t walk to because of her health. I can imagine she’ll be mad stupid bored when we take her to all of our favorite nature spots but I’ll be happy to have her here. I’ll keep trying

DIY Touch Stylus

My DIY Touch Stylus

I don’t know how I did it, but last year I conned the Husband into buying an iPad. It was a first gen refurb, so we got a really good deal. The boy loves it, not for the educational apps that I try to push on him, but mainly for Jetpack Joyride and the PBS video app.

Anywho, I’ve been seeing a bazillion different DIY’s for making your own touch stylus but most of them require using conductive foam or conductive thread, which is all great but then you have to order the thread online and blah blah blah, it becomes a real pain in the ass to make and cheaper to just buy a real stylus in a store.

Enter Lifehacker.

Lifehacker posted a link to a DIY using a cheap ballpoint pen and a Scotch Brite sponge and craft wire. I thought it was ridiculously too simple and it couldn’t possible work. But dear reader, I am not kidding, it totally works. In fact, I would say it works better than the stylus the Husband bought me for Christmas.

I ended up making one practice stylus and then two more that I decorated with a gingham packing tape. I wanted washi tape but this is all I could find that I liked (seriously, where the hell do you buy that in Portland?). I don’t have a small-enough drill to make holes in something as tiny as a ballpoint pen so I just used a tiny nail and hammered a hole in the pen. The cheap pens were made by Bic. Pretty cool, yeah?