Monday, April 16, 2012

Earrings in process.

Made these little studs the other day, but I think they are too plain:

So I've decided to cut some small notches around the edges and gold leaf the insides of the cups. I have a good feeling... Small details make such a big difference on small pieces of jewelry!

Icelandic lamb made into an almost Moroccan tagine.

Went to the Ballard Farmer's Market yesterday to enjoy the exquisitely beautiful day (sun in Seattle is never taken for granted) and also to dogwatch. Oh, so many adorable dogs! Some favorites include: a silvery gray Great Dane puppy with giant paws, a fluffy white Pyrenees mountain dog, a black lab sitting so hungrily yet so patiently in front of a tempting display of seafood.

We picked up a lamb shoulder (from Iceland!) and decided to make a Moroccan-style stew with it. Turned out absolutely delicious, though we were missing a few key ingredients like turmeric and mint. So not really Moroccan, but close enough to sate our cravings. 

Recipe as follows:

1 1/2 lb lamb shoulder
1 1/2 Tbsp grated ginger
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salted lemon pepper

2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp butter
6 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp thyme
1 tsp pepper flakes
7-10 dried cherries, roughly chopped
1 1/2 cup plain, unsalted tomato soup
1/2 cup orange juice

1 onion, chopped 
1/4 cup honey

Make a paste with ginger, cumin, cinnamon and lemon pepper and rub into the lamb. Melt butter with the oil in a pot and sear the lamb on all sides. Throw in garlic, thyme, pepper flakes, cherries, tomato soup and orange juice. Cover and simmer. 

In a pan, cook the onions with honey until golden. Add to the simmering pot and cook until lamb is tender.

Garnish with slivered almonds or mint. Enjoy!

Even better the next day!  

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Order of the Golden Rose pomander outtakes.

I went a little nuts taking photos of my new pomander design. Since I could only choose five pictures for my Etsy shop, here are a few outtakes:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Top Five: Movie Villains!

A friend recently requested that I put together a list of my favorite villains in books, television and movies, and I am happy to oblige! Ever since I was a kid, I always had a gigantic soft spot for fictional baddies. Perhaps I've got an inner dark side myself? 

As long as I'm given the barest hint of back-story, I can mentally construct a whole plane load of plausible motivations for the villains I watch. A hero is a difficult thing to create because they are so often driven by the same noble urges as all the other heroes. Most good guys are good in the same way, whereas bad guys can be bad in a wonderful, delicious smorgasbord of ways.

Since I have too many favorites, I'll be making a separate list for villains from movies and TV shows. Here's the first of the series- my top five movie villains (not in any particular order):

Imhotep (The Mummy, 1999) - 

A male villain motivated and twisted by his timeless love for a lady? Not something that comes along very often. And since I first watched The Mummy as an impressionable young girl obsessed with ancient Egypt, this kind of devotion seemed pretty damn romantic to me.

O-Ren Ishii (Kill Bill) -

The silk glove on a steel gauntlet. That beautiful and brutal sequence detailing the tragedy of her childhood and the loss of her family just broke my heart. The Kill Bill movies were always entertaining but I wasn't emotionally engaged, except for that section about O-Ren. Her transformation from child soldier into that stunning and ruthless crime boss just made sense to me. I think there is a tendency to cheer for narratives involving girls who empower themselves through violence and masculine-coded strength (ahem, Arya Stark, anyone?) and O-Ren is a particularly poignant example of how tragic it can be, as satisfying as it is watching women take revenge on those who have wronged them.

Lots-o-Huggin Bear (Toy Story 3) -  

I found Lotso's story about how he was left behind by his beloved owner and then replaced with another bear very illuminating regarding his selfish behavior. Woody and his friends managed to get themselves out of that horrible situation in the daycare center. But Lotso was likely to spend the rest of his life being destroyed by little kids if he didn't save himself. I mean, there has to be some toys (or rather, cannon fodder) in the Caterpillar Room, right? Lotso made sure it wasn't him. Of course, he went beyond self-preservation into tyranny, but it seems logical that a lifetime of scheming would warp his personality.

Marquise de Merteuil (Dangerous Liaisons) -      

I have a thing for women in patriarchal social arenas ruthlessly using the performance of femininity to get themselves what they want. Marquise de Merteuil is probably the most sublime example of that trope. And Glenn Close is just mesmerizing in this role. All you need to know about the Marquise de Merteuil is in this clip here:

Elektra King (The World Is Not Enough) -

James Bond movies usually all blend together for me. But Casino Royale and The World Is Not Enough both made a huge impression, because of the intriguing female characters who have their own reasons for acting the way they do. Since Vesper Lynd of Casino Royale doesn't really qualify as a villain, I'll just focus on Elektra King. The ultimate femme fatale, she was taken hostage in a plot masterminded by the terrorist Renard. Left at the mercy of the terrorists by her father and MI6, she decided to secret ally herself with the man who took her captive to accomplish her own goals.