The Fails and Jubilations of a Novice Cheesemaker

I am beyond thrilled at my forays into cheese making, even when the cheeses end up a little more on the not-quite-right side than the shazam! one. I’ve now tried enough cheeses from the One-Hour Cheese book that I decided to add another specialty cookbook to our growing stash. My husband has his pile of artisan breads while I have canning, cake, and cheese ones. We are running out of space for our cookbooks in our too small kitchen.

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The Cave Curtains for the Giganotosaurus Window

The window in my living room is of Giganotosaurus proportions. The same window is also the primary source of light in that living room. If the window weren’t needing of plus-sized window treatment before, let me just add that the window is likely as old as my house (Est. 1952). Last winter, my husband swore that he could feel a cold wind coming through the corner of the window. I didn’t doubt him, but I was still surprised by the strength of that draft when I first felt it.

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DIY Back Tab Curtains

I am hardly an expert seamstress; in fact, I’m quite the novice. The first curtains I ever made were for my old rental house and were so thoroughly wrong that they hung without any drape whatsoever. (Lesson learned:  each panel should be the width of the entire window.) When we bought our house, I tore them apart and made my “frankencurtains” out of their dismembered panels. I love how absolutely horrible they are, mostly so I can remind myself that everyone has to start out a beginner or she will never learn and grow.

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The Quilts of Increasingly Fewer Mistakes

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The face I routinely make when attempting to sew.

Last fall, I knew that I would need to make more quilts to bundle and cozy myself up through the winter. I wanted to become a better seamstress, and I wanted to learn how to quilt my quilt myself rather than pay and have my project sent off to a shop. My mom bought me a new sewing machine that would better handle the demands of quilting, I promised to make her a throw in exchange for the sewing machine, and then I sat down to make approximately a thousand mistakes per quilt. The teacher in me reminded myself that you learn by making mistakes. The student in me sighed and rolled her eyes.

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DIY Thrifty Giftwrap

When the medical bills hit, we talked about forgoing gifts this year for Chanukah and our anniversary, but we ultimately decided against it. We set a budget instead, and there’s no room in that budget for wrapping paper, let alone the premium kind with thick paper and swirls of shimmery colors. For me, part of the joy of giving a gift is handing someone an unidentifiable box and watching the anticipation change to happiness, a revelatory process that is rather lacking without the mysterious swathing around it.

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