Dear stitch readers, say hi to the little motivational stamp I put on my blotting pad this morning 😉 – such a simple, small thing, but I assure you, it goes a long way for a parentless, slightly overworked and underrested woman on the last leg of her Forties.
Read on at your own peril, for there is no real point to this post (yet) other than reflecting on how a fair number of people have told me that I’m awesome over the last few weeks. Guys, you know who you are – and I appreciate the positive reinforcement so, so much – thank you!
What goes around comes around: I’m always impressed by what you people accomplish. I certainly don’t feel I juggle more than most women I know – given that I work from home, my schedule may even be a bit more flexible than others‘. But I deeply admire you guys for all you manage to do, create, think, write, cook and learn, and today, I want to say to you: GOOD JOB, Y’ALL!!!
Now we’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s a few things I did over the last weeks, when I wasn’t editing the hell out of the novel I was working on.
With a li’l help from my friends (again, you know who you are!) we pulled off a sensational Halloween-themed birthday party for our daughter, complete with a treasure hunt in the dark that included finding a special headstone at the close-by cemetery, I kid you not! In the end there was also the first pinata we ever did. It was so much fun that I do believe we’ll have to make it a tradition :-)))).
I’ve got that frosting down now too, and I’ll have two insanely talented Junior Partners for when we’ll start our very own pastry shop once they finish school. It’s gonna be great :-)!
OK, I wasn’t going to at first, but I guess I need to include my latest baking endeavor. Have you people ever made shortbread? It can be somewhat … bland? Heavy? On the floury side? Well, it doesn’t have to be. I gave it some thought, took the basic recipe and made some adjustments and ended up with a very lemony, buttery indulgence …
Very Lemony Shortbread
500 g butter
160 g sugar
900 g flour (400 g of which I substituted with spelt flour)
1 1/2 TBSP salt, and don’t be shy!
Grated peel of 1 or 2 lemons, chopped (depends on their size as well as your tastebuds)
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
You know the drill: Make a smooth, solid lump of dough of these ingredients and set aside.
This all seems pretty straightforward I suppose. Other than the pinch of nutmeg it’s the basic recipe. I guess what makes _my_ shortbread really special is the icing. It consists of
Juice of 1 lemon
Grated peel of 1 lemon, chopped
100 g powdered sugar
and – get this – 1/2 jar of lemon curd
Using a flat wire whisk, combine well and set aside until you take your shortbread out of the oven.
For baking, line a deep, square shaped baking dish with baking parchment. Put your dough in there and roll it out flat as best you can – it will be grim work. I enlisted my teenager who doesn’t have a f…ed up shoulder. It should be approx. 1 cm high. Try and smooth out the edges, and by all means prick the heck out of that cake with a fork. Again, don’t be shy. It also makes for a pretty pattern I thought. Before you bake it, make incisions in the shape you’d like your shortbread slabs, pieces, squares, what have yous to have later on. Put in the oven at 160 °C for approx. a half hour. Check on it as soon as it starts smelling wonderful – and adjust your temperature so it doesn’t burn. Once it has a golden brown cookie-y look, take out of the oven and with a spatula spread your icing, which should have the consistency of slightly runny jam. Turn off the heat and put back in the oven to steep. Cut into desired pieces. And enjoy :-). Nobody will be greatly surprised to hear that this will be part of my annual Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.
As for crafts, I haven’t been idle either. Here’s what happened on that front:
I finished The Fall Colored Scarf (sooo fluffy!!!). I speed-knit a pair of socks for my godson in California – it needed to happen because my husband was going there on business and actually went to see our folks on his day off, yay! I made my goddaughter in Frankfurt a pair of Rainbow Socks for Christmas, and am making another pair for her older sister – alas, shoe size 39, little girls no more… and I’m really proud of my ingenuous little lady whom I helped make that bracelet at my son’s school’s Winter Bazaar. She chose the color scheme, and may I say she chose really well.
I also bought some yarn, cool stuff to make new gauntlets, as I managed to shrink these to a degree that my daughter of eight is now their proud owner:
Last but not least, I just submitted the translation of the second novel in Santino Hassell’s Five Boroughs Series, Sunset Park. Needless to say, I was immersed in a really intense round of final editing for a week. And now I’m done, and I finally feel I managed to capture the two protagonists‘ tones of voice. The story’s written from both of their points of view, and both of them have a very distinct way of speaking (even in their own heads). It wasn’t easy to transpose them into German where nobody speaks quite like a Puerto-Rican dude from the hood… The book is also very very funny, which was a challenge in and of itself.
If you’re into gay romance at all, I highly recommend the whole series. I consider myself very lucky to be working on something I’m a fangirl of, even if I felt like smacking the main characters over the head more than once over the course of the book (as a fangirl more than as a translator, obviously). Those two, I swear … but everything ends well, as it absolutely should in a romance novel ;-).
Can you believe it’s that time of the year again?
Lovely wreath, don’t you think? I had help this time, which is why it doesn’t look quite as scruffy as my wreaths usually do – thanks a lot, dear B.!
Signing off today with a cool little graffiti I saw on a park bench last week when out for a run: Graffiti artist, whoever you are: Great job, I love it. It put a big smile on my face, as I hope it will on yours!