(No) Ice Ice Baby

Hardcore decor

From the J&W archives … I originally posted this last October, but I keep getting requests for the “recipe” so thought I’d repost.

Because I believe that people who refer to instructions — cooking, knitting, IKEA, home rocketry — as “recipes” deserve our respect and possibly also a restraining order.

I love Christmas.  Love, love, love it.

I love that there is a radio station that starts playing Christmas music on December 1.

I love that the day after the Hallowe’en crap at the dollar store comes down — ho ho ho, the advantage of a properly timed Thanksgiving — the Christmas crap goes up.

I’ve always loved Christmas, but throw in two little kids, even two kids who have pre-Santa levels of understanding of how the whole season works?  That’s gold, Jerry!  Gold!

Disclosure: I am also about as Christian as Seinfeld, at least in practice.  So my love is a total secular co-opting of a Christian celebration, which is in turn an overwriting of a pagan one, if we’re going to be intellectually honest about it.  P once wrote a fantastic song about this; I can’t remember all the lyrics but my favourite lines go something like:

Jesus the Nazarean
Was born on a bed of hay
The shepherds in the fields were feeding their flocks
So we know it was probably May

We appreciate narrative and parable but are largely an evidence-based family, you could say.

Still!  I love sweet-smelling trees and cookie exchanges and holiday cards and window displays and all that pepperminty B.S.

And so it was that I found myself making these on a relatively balmy late fall day in Toronto:

I should probably give them some swanky name like “Holiday Sparklers” or “Twinkle Bits” or “Disco Diamonds” but then I wouldn’t have any names left for my boobs.

What they are are small (1 cm square) mirrored pieces of glass, glued together with a ribbon betwixt (I’ll stop talking about my boobs ANY DAY NOW).

To make your own, you’ll need these mirrored bits, (very) thin ribbon and a strong adhesive.  I started off with Weldbond, which did work but the consistency was like white glue and required a lot of painting and waiting.  When I switched over to the Goop that P recommended, the process was more smearing and squishing, which I found infinitely more satisfying.  I suppose you could use a hot glue gun, too, if you’re special enough to own one that isn’t at this precise moment in time filled with once-lava-hot, now-rock-solid glue.

Then, when the time comes, fill your tree with lights, then these little puppies (ha ha, boobs!) and it’s like you filled your tree with about a billion more lights than you did, you cheap bastard.

Merry Christmas!

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

We bought these tile panels, to be installed as a backsplash, back in 2008(ish).  They were finally installed a few weekends ago, thanks largely to my parents who watched the kids for the weekend.


All these years later, I still love the colour.  I don’t even begrudge the delay, even if I was a bit sassy about it on Twitter: “Of the things I never thought I’d see in my lifetime, this is right up there with 80% voter turnout and Lady Pope.”

More at The Daily Post weekly photo challenge.

Peach cobbler: A perfectly adequate dessert

Peach cobbler done well is, I suspect, more than an adequate dessert.

But you know me and random recipes I find on the internet: a solid track record of unassailable mediocrity.

I had high hopes for How To Make A Peach Cobbler So Good You’ll Cry, and you would, too if you’d read this:

If your oven has a window and a working oven light, you’ll know your peach cobbler is nearing completion when the biscuit dough has spread across the entire surface of the pan’s contents and begun turning golden-brown. Alternatively, you’ll know it’s nearly done when the state of Georgia lifts itself off the continental bedrock, folds itself into an anthropoid shape, and appears outside of your window playing “In Your Eyes” on a boombox.

Alas, no.

While the (not-really-a) recipe’s instructions on how to prepare peaches (“You will still accidentally pulverize at least one or two of them with your clumsy hammerhands; you will still get sticky peach juice all over your arms; you will still rue the day the first stupid peach budded on the first dumb peach tree”) are hi-larious, it starts to fall apart ’round about topping time.

I took this pic during the still-pretty-good phase of Operation Cobbler.  The article called for the addition of lemon juice and zest, which went a long way towards recipe redemption.  Peaches and lemons = BFFs.  Who knew.

Witness: demi-mangled pêches avec sugar et l’autre stuff:


But again, total topping fail, and here’s why:

… drizzle some of that boiling water into the mix until it just, just hangs together as a dough, rather than a bowl of flour and sugar that got rained on in some places … The butter will melt and disappear into the mix as you do this.

*insert sound of needle scratching across record*

No no no no no.  Butter’s gotta be cold.  The entire pastry cutter industry depends on the widespread propagation of this sensible nugget of frosty truth.  Cold butter = flaky baking.  Melted butter = dense and resilient.  Which are excellent attributes if you’re talking about an urban environment or a garden hedge or a guy whose job it is to protect you from zombies.  Biscuits … not so much.

I forgot to take this next work-in-progress photo while the cobbler was still on the counter so I had to open the oven door to grab this shot. My contact lenses are now permanently fused to my eyeballs, so yay for all the money I just saved on laser eye surgery!


The final result looked delicious:


But we have already established that eyes are liars, no?  The biscuit topping was, as I worried that it might be, more flinty than fluffy.  I was able to cut it, but let’s just say I now have a paring knife that shall be henceforth known as Excalibur.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.

If you think I’m talking about you here, yeah, you’re probably right.