The Best Use for Your Stand Mixer

Yes, your stand mixer look beautiful on the kitchen counter, but maybe you’re like me and don’t use it nearly as much as you anticipated? We could make constant batches of cupcakes or pies, but that might not be the best idea. I found the solution: make whipped cream.

Seriously. Fresh whipped cream is more delicious than you could imagine, and having a stand mixer means preparation is ridiculously easy. I am constantly whipping up (haha) batches on the fly. Keep a jar of whipping cream in your fridge, and you’ll be surprised by how often you finding yourself using reaching for it.

There is no need to ever buy store-bought whipped cream if you have an electric mixer of any sort, but especially a stand mixer. You add three ingredients, turn the mixer on, walk away, and come back to a bowl of white heaven. Eat it with fruit, pancakes, hot cocoa, pudding, or by the spoon. You can even pipe it through a pastry bag for a nice shape!

Prep your mixer by cooling the metal bowl in the freezer for a few minutes.

Our three ingredients: whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla.

Attach wire whip.

Begin beating on medium until stiff peaks form.

You’re done! It’s that easy. Now eat it off the spoon or sample it with every item in your house. Store the rest in an airtight container in your refrigerator.

Fresh Whipped Cream

1 cup whipping cream
2 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Set metal mixing bowl in freezer to chill for a few minutes (though this doesn’t always happen in my house–I just don’t have room enough in my freezer!).

Add whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium until stiff peaks form.

You can also spice it up if you want: add a couple tablespoons of a flavored liqueur, 1/2 teaspoon citrus peel, or 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder with 1 tablespoon of extra sugar.

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Tony Firman’s Bookbinding Workshop

Last weekend I took a bookbinding workshop with a couple classmates. I had been looking forward to the day since Tony Firman visited my rare books class as a guest lecturer.

Tony is a joy to listen to and learn from, and after seeing him demonstrate the binding of a miniature book I knew I needed to learn more. We all know how much I love tediously particular crafts, like embroidery, and I thought this might be right up my alley. During his lecture I couldn’t stop thinking, “This is a thing? People actually get to do this for work?”

The workshop was so much fun, and I recommend anyone in DFW contact Tony for your bookbinding or miniature book needs (we all have a lot of those, right?). His work reflects his meticulous craftsmanship, from the typesetting to binding and casing. I’m going to have to order some of his handmade miniature books, if only I can decide which I most need!

His workshop teaches four different binding methods, and each of the four books you create is about the way in which it’s bound. I decided to work with miniatures rather than full size books because, again, I love tedious and tiny work. Plus, miniature books are also just about my favorite thing in the world. They combine my two greatest loves–literature and small, cute things.

The beginnings of a small paperback book.

Punching holes in a gather of a more sophisticated hard-cover book that will have a sewn-signature binding.

A bit of time must be spent waiting for glue to dry, so Tony entertained us with his collection of books, explaining the varying binding methods or significance of the book itself.

Bookbinding also involves a lot of trimming. There’s not much room for error in miniature books.

Measuring and cutting the boards of the casing was the most difficult task. I was relieved to finally cover the casing in fabric.

Some of Tony’s miniature collection. The books above were created by Tony himself.

And now, my four completed miniature books:

Lake Mineral Wells State Park

Last weekend Joseph and I made the drive to Lake Mineral Wells State Park, which we’ve been wanting to check out for a while. I was absolutely blown away. It was so beautiful–I was entranced by all the soft blues. I kept saying, “This nature is covered in my favorite color!” and Joseph kept telling me to calm down because it is only moss. (My co-worker Cerelle, who actually inspired me to visit this park, later explained it is actually lichen, which has a symbiotic relationship with moss! Joseph apparently knew this at the time as well, and I am the only one out of the loop about the workings of moss.)

We were there for about three hours just hiking. It’s such a nice hike–full of rugged rocks you have to have to climb over! I’m excited to go back and make more of a day with it, maybe bringing our dog Cory and some food to grill.

Unfortunately, I forgot to charge my camera battery before leaving the house, so these are the only shots I got. I was so disappointed–the park was so beautiful I wanted to photograph everything! I did get a few photos on my cell phone, though:

Lieu’s Vietnamese Restaurant (Lake Worth, Texas)

A couple weeks ago one of my good internet friends came to visit from Atlanta, and we went to eat at one of my favorites, Lieu’s Vietnamese Restaurant. I go there pretty frequently because the seafood pho’s broth is out of this world. I always have to get an avocado shake on my way out too. Although Fort Worth itself has fabulous restaurants, dining options in Lake Worth are mostly limited to lackluster chains, so having Lieu’s nearby is wonderful!

Home Tour: Living Room

I’ve been wanting to add more to my home tour series, but it’s a difficult task to undertake. For one, every room feels like a perpetual work in progress. I do like the slow accumulation of furniture and decorations, but I get stuck in a cycle: “I’ll take photos once I get this one final thing…. and then this other.”

Besides that, it’s hard to photograph rooms! Even when I breakout my 18mm lens, I can never accurately grasp the feel of the room. This is especially true in my living room, which is the center of the house and very large and open. The grandness of this room is the reason we bought the house. And I admit we definitively said, “Leonardo will love this!” when we walked in. He can sit upstairs and keep an eye on everything happening in the lower part of the house.

We’ve known for a long time that we did not want a television in our living room, so our book collection became the centerpiece. Most of the books are from our subscription to The Easton Press’ 100 Greatest Books Every Written. We’re sent a surprise book every month! We’re making our way through the list quite nicely and will need a second bookcase soon. There are also a few other books that we’ve picked up individually, including the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Jane Austen’s six novel.

I’m sure this style is not to everyone’s taste, and sometimes I worry that it seems a bit ostentatious. But the room really came together organically. It holds a lot of our momentos, like a childhood photo of my grandfather and his brother, the embroidery I made Joseph for our first anniversary, framed postcards and a mask from Venice, and an alabaster cat and hand-painted papyrus from Egypt.

Finally, the room as viewed from the walkway upstairs.

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