Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Felicitous Convergence

The other day, we received a 5 qt. KitchenAid stand mixer as a wedding gift. This last week was quite busy, so I hadn't had a chance to pull it out until today. Now that I god, it's heavenly! We got along fine without it (she said defensively), but it's utterly boggling to be able to make, say, mayonnaise without killing my arm and taking forever. Now, I can set the yolks whisking and actually walk away.

Oh, sorry, too much effusing. Anyway, because of the long weekend, I've decided to make some more complicated things, and the mixer is a big part of my plan. Challah, always before, has been a project for a very quiet day and untired arms--but now I have a dough hook. Mayonnaise, madeleines, meringues--all of them suddenly near-instantaneous. I'm in foodie heaven.

I'm thinking very seriously about pursuing cake-making as a bit of a side business. Always before, I've restricted myself to fun cakes for my friends' birthdays (my favorite was the period corset-torso for my friend Amy, who is a costumer and a Rennie), but with more professional tools, it's easy to get some Ideas.

One of those Ideas is a fond old favorite of mine--starting a business that provides home-making services to busy families. Hand-made cakes, home-made Halloween costumes, help with meal planning--all the things that people wish they had time to do. I really just want to make a career out of things I love doing.

For now, I'm just going to enjoy them as ends in and of themselves. Here, have some challah.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Frugal life skills

Today, I mended my favorite pair of jeans. There are two little holes beginning to rub through at the inner thigh, and I don't want them to show wear. I wear these jeans every single day (I love working in a small office!), and they're pretty much the best ever. So knowing how and when to place a patch? Save me more than the cost of this pair of jeans.

In order to get these jeans, I would say I spent probably 30-40 hours shopping, and about $200 on "interim" jeans--something to wear that are good enough, but not perfect enough to stop shopping. So I'm going to wear these jeans until there's more patch than original jean.

I like doing this as much as I can. I try to keep only well-loved things around me, and repair the hell out of them before letting them go. A twelve dollar part at the right time can extend an appliance's life longer than you might think. Most of the time, this saves money, which, really, is a side benefit for me. The time and effort invested in finding an equally-beloved replacement is much more important to me.

I'm going to go admire my patch for awhile now.