patinagle16: (headshot)
Noticed this on Facebook and decided to play for a month, anyway.  The original post about January and the thematic prompts is here.

Starting off with "today" I took a photo of New Mexico's traditional good luck food for New Year's Day:  posole (hominy).

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BVC authors present their holiday-related fiction for your reading pleasure!  Full disclosure:  I have a story (novella, actually) on this list.

Now, for the burbling:  I LOVE these stories!  Regency fans will enjoy Madeleine Robins's "Bedlam Inn" - just charming.  Stories from Sherwood Smith and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and a handful of delights from Judith Tarr, including the wonderful chefs' battle of "Piece de Resistance" - all free!  Check them out!
patinagle16: (aurora)
Mishka had a small seizure this morning.  Not too bad.  It's been about two weeks since the last one so not unexpected.

Yesterday a Willamson's Sapsucker visited our bird bath.  I'd never seen one before.  Very, very cool!  At first I thought this was a flicker, but the belly was yellow and the black bib went all the way down the chest, so not.  We get flickers a lot, but with orange bellies, not the yellow. 

It's a La Niña year, which is bad news for us.  It means a dry winter, which means a bad fire season next year.  We've had one snowfall in early November, and that's it.  Kind of hard to get into the holiday spirit because of that, but yesterday I went out and made my Yule wreath.  This involves lopping some lower limbs off of trees that can use it, cutting up the greens, and putting them into the wreath frame.  Add a bow and hang it up.
patinagle16: (Default)
The party was a blast. We had 42 skulls and by the end of a long day, they were all decorated. Kids and popcorn and lots of messy fun. Photos here:
patinagle16: (sugar skull)

Lost one overnight. Stress fracture from being moved around too much before dry.

I made another batch of skulls today. Tried to keep from getting sugar all over everywhere. Not terribly successful.

It really is like playing with damp sand. Not wet enough to make a sand castle, but packs into the molds well. The just-molded skulls are so fragile that brushing against them will damage them, but once they're dry they're amazingly tough. You can see the mold in bowl at the left side if you look carefully.

I added a picture of the sucker mold to yesterday's post, if anyone's curious. I got it from The Specialty Shop, a local cake and candy supply shop.
patinagle16: (sugar skull)
skullsLast year I dipped a toe in the water of making sugar skulls. This is a wonderful Dia de los Muertos tradition. We had so much fun with it that I decided to invite some friends to share this year.

These aren't food, by the way. They're pure sugar, just decoration.

Making the base skulls is actually pretty unexciting, and they have to be dry before they can be decorated, so today I made some in advance. I used the molds from last year, best molds I could find then, which turned out to be skull sucker molds. (Hmm...good name for a band...Skull Sucker Mold). This year I cut one down to make it easier to slide the skulls onto cardboard for drying.

I made a double recipe with four cups of sugar, four teaspoons of meringue powder, and about seven teaspoons of water. The recipe called for four, but the sugar seemed too crumbly so I kept adding more. The consistency is supposed to be like "moist sand." Pack the sugar into the mold, scrape off the excess with the flat edge of a knife, cover with an index card and flip over, then place on cardboard and slide out the index card. Voila! The double recipe made ten full skulls and one that was almost full (close enough).

I had a little trouble with some of the chins crumbling, but hey. Not everyone has the same chin, right?
patinagle16: (Default)
May Day was always a fascination to me.  As a child I had heard stories about May Day and May baskets, leaving secret presents for neighbors at dawn, that kind of thing.  I never really got to participate in it, though.  It was always one of those "wouldn't it be great" things. 

May Day is an ancient fertility celebration.  Some interpret that as meaning wild revelry ("Tra-la, it's May, the lusty month of May...") but I tend to think about gardening.  Unfortunately, where I live, May Day is not yet frost-free time, but I have plants growing indoors.  Some quite enthusiastically, practically screaming to get their little roots into the garden soil.  They must wait a week or two. 

There are some lovely May carols, with dairy maids and garlands of flowers left by mysterious suitors and all that sort of pastoral thing.  I love these.  I also love Maypole dances, which I've actually done.  And another May tradition - the "Belfire" or bonfire - is something I'm always in favor of (though I've never jumped over one).

For a while May Day was co-opted by communism, kind of the antithesis of the pastoral celebration.  It's also become International Workers' Day, which is fine but nowhere near as romantic and fun as the old traditions.

I'm a sucker for romance and tradition.  So I will at least light a candle for May Day and probably try to do something with flowers.  My schedule isn't going to permit more this year, alas, but maybe next year. 

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Best Wishes to all for a prosperous
and happy New Year!

Free 2009 Calendar!


patinagle16: (Default)
blue iceIn honor of the season, two gifts:

- A free read of my fantasy novella "Glad Yule" (originally published in Fred Saberhagen's AN ARMORY OF SWORDS) is available on my bookshelf at Book View Cafe.

- A free 2009 year-at-a-glance calendar is yours for the asking.

And if you want to learn about the Yule Goat, see my post on the Novelists, Inc. blog.

May your holiday season be blessed with happiness!
patinagle16: (Default)
A well-meaning friend sent me an email suggesting sending a holiday card to a recovering soldier at Walter Reed hospital. Lovely idea, but a card so addressed wouldn't get to the intended recipient (see why at  Here's a way to make sure your card does get to a soldier.  (Thanks to moon_happy for the heads-up.)
From the American Red Cross

Please send cards to this address, following the guidelines listed below:

Holiday Mail for Heroes
PO Box 5456
Capitol Heights, MD 20791-5456

Please follow these simple guidelines when sending your card to ensure it will quickly reach service members, veterans and their families.
  • All cards must be postmarked no later than Wednesday, December 10, 2008. Cards sent after this date will be returned to sender.
  • If sending more than one card, please mail all cards together in one large shipping envelope. Cards sent in this manner do not need individual envelopes or postage.
  • Please ensure that all cards are signed.
  • Please use generic salutations such as “Dear Service Member.”
  • Please do not include personal information, like email or home addresses.
  • Please do not send letters.
  • Please do not include inserts of any kind, including photos, glitter, confetti, gift cards or calling cards. Any items inserted into cards will be removed during the reviewing process.
  • All cards received may be used in program publicity efforts, including appearing in broadcast, print or online mediums.

This is exactly the sort of thing that expresses the spirit of the season, in my view. I'm getting out a card to send right now.

My Fave!

Oct. 31st, 2008 11:52 am
patinagle16: (Default)
HalloweenI can't help it—I adore Halloween! Here is my muse, Nambé, in full spooky mode.

sugar skullsI've always loved this time of year. Costumes, fall leaves, aromatic smoke from fireplaces. Candy, not so much, even when I was a kid. But this year I made some sugar skulls, which are traditional for Dia de los Muertos. We will decorate them tonight. Maybe I'll make some Halloween frosted cookies, too—I do love those!

In honor of the day I've posted some of my photos from St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 in New Orleans to a new group blog I'm in—Mad Genius Club. (I guess mad geniuses go with Halloween too!)

Happy Halloween!



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