Extracts

Back in April, the world seemed pretty scary. Not like today right? Right?!? :/ Erm…anyway. I decided to make extracts as a way to put some positivity into my future. I made vanilla extract by slicing six vanilla pods and adding them to a bottle of rum. (Some people use vodka but I think rum makes it taste better.)

I’ve made vanilla extract before but also wanted to try something new. Almond extract is a bit more work but worth the effort. I blanched a cup of almonds to make the skin slide off. After chopping them up, I added them to a bottle of grain alcohol. Then I put them in our fermentation closet, giving them a shake whenever I bottled up some kombucha.

Three months later the extracts were ready. I strained out the pods and nuts using two filters. They taste great and will be perfect for baking. Josh added some vanilla to our morning coffee and it was delicious.

Ursula is being as cute as always.

Cat Fur Hack

Recently I fixed my sewing machine with a clever hack. I inherited this machine and it’s pretty solid except that it was missing a small part. Usually there is a thin circle of felt that rests between the thread stopper and thread.

The missing felt meant that the thread moved around the thread holder rod and sometimes both it and the stopper slid off completely while I was sewing. With stores shut down because of Covid19 I couldn’t find a replacement locally. Ursula’s fur came to the rescue!

She’s a long haired girl and loves being brushed. Every time her hairbrush fills up I pull it off and store it in a zippie. I figured I’d experiment some while in quarantine! When I had a few hairbrush merkins I started needle felting.

Since the felt circle holds thread into place, I slid off a thread label and used that for my template.

Cat hair takes longer to felt since it’s not as long as sheep’s wool but otherwise it’s pretty similar. After needle felting for awhile I had a good thickness. I put the thread label on top and cut around the cat felt to match the shape.

I snipped a hole in the middle and needle felted more to round it out. It slid easily onto the thread holder rod.

To thank Ursula I took her on a walk. She loves sitting outside and eating grass.

Summer hat

Summer break has arrived and I finally have time to hang out with my sewing machine again. Mostly I’ve been working on my mending pile which had grown considerably this past semester. My first sewing project was tarting up a new summer hat.

I have a pretty pink hat that’s my standard go to but it feels weird to wear if I’m dressed all in green or blue. This option was found in Taipei’s underground mall on sale for $150 NT (about $5 US). The sash came from a dress I recently scored at a clothing swap.

It seemed cute at the time I tried it on but once home the design seemed a bit off. So I’ve been recycling it and am happy with this first result. The flower was a nice score also found underground.

Josh and I took another trip to our new favorite place Oia Cafe. It’s an alpaca and cat coffee shop. Yup, you can sip a latte and pet an alpaca. We made our first trek earlier this month and Josh blogged about it here.

This time we got to bath one of the alpacas, a one year old named Kurosawa, after the famous director. It was not an easy task but Kuro forgave us after we offered him carrots.

This little kitty was my new friend for half an hour during our first visit. He was adorable and I so wanted to take him home! But alas, we’re living pet free for the foreseeable future. Isn’t he adorable?

Living in Taiwan means access to fresh fruit and varieties not easily found in the US. Josh and I scored some cheap durian recently and it was delicious.