Saturday, March 6, 2010

shells thinner than the ocean

relax, my friends: i have finally visited the youth ranch distribution center. you can stop telling me how awesome it is because i’ve now experienced it for myself, and i respectfully disagree.

the distro is a huge thrift store where you can buy clothes for 50 cents apiece or crap for 50 cents a pound. it’s a cavernous warehouse full of boxes, bins, and a dense atmosphere of desperation.

i walked around the store in a daze, repeating to myself, “i don’t know what to do with this.” it gave me processing problems; i felt like i should be excited but i was mostly just depressed. and the merchandise: i have found far higher concentration of desirable shit in dumpsters. granted, i found a few things to buy (three pounds worth, to be exact). i picked up a horrid, mutilated baby doll (good for pictures), a single black cloth napkin, and a small typesetter tray that i’m going to paint and use to display random tchotchkes.

seems like it’s probably a good place to get furniture, but i doubt i’ll be going back for anything other than that.

i also visited the herb pantry for the first time today. i wanted to get some dried flowers to make my own perfume--a few days ago i thrifted this lovely glass perfume bottle and it inspired me to try DIY perfumery:

the pantry is a neat little shop lined with shelves of herbs, flowers, seasonings, sea vegetables...i finally found some dulse flakes to flavor immitation cheese. i didn’t do any research beforehand, didn’t know what i wanted, so i wandered around and smelled everything and bought whatever seemed like it would make a good perfume or tea.

i picked up an ounce of honeysuckle flowers,

an ounce of “super blue” lavender,

two ounces of red roses,

one ounce of dulse flakes (that included this microscopic spiral seashell),

and one ounce of gymnema sylvestre for tea, just because it smells like something i’d like to drink.

i’d never heard of gymnema before--the store owner explained to me it’s helpful for diabetics because it makes sweet things taste awful. i haven’t tested this claim yet, but i’m curious to find out if it works. guess i won’t be putting my usual dose of agave nectar in that tea.

i fantasize about stocking this antique chinese apothecary cabinet with herbs and tisanes--every single drawer. i’d never use that many herbs, though. just a nice romantic notion.

so my first “perfume” experiment is going to be honeysuckle, rose, lavender, and just a hint of calendula. typically you’d use essential oils for this, but i’m experimenting. also, i only had 80 proof vodka (it calls for 100 proof), so there’s another opportunity for discovery. experimentation! at worst i’ll end up with fixings for a revolting herbal martini. it’s steeping in a dark corner in my bathroom now. if it fails completely (most likely) i do have a few essential oils to try: jasmine and lemon, and a wonderful bottle of plumeria i picked up the last time i was in hawaii.

this afternoon i went over to jason’s house. it was nice out so we sat outside and knitted, pet his kitty (goose), brewed some rose-honeysuckle tisane that ended up tasting like jasmine, listened to the hedwig soundtrack like old times, and he played banjo.

his playing is so fantastic! he needs to start recording. immediately.

when i got home i made yummy veggie sushi for dinner. i also made a gorgeous caterpillar roll, but my rice wasn't sticky enough so it fell apart when i tried to slice it.

both today and yesterday i wore my hair down, for the first time in months. i also measured: it’s now 42 inches long, with a mind of its own--my hair is a vishnu-esque cluster of unruly, autonomous appendages, grabbing things off shelves, catching on whatever it can wrap around. usually i keep it bunched up under a big beanie or rolled into buns and covered with a bandana. when i wear it down it’s a hilarious conversation starter. yesterday a woman told me i have “fairytale hair,” a homeless guy strictly instructed me never to cut it, and when i was walking around downtown a crazy italian dude came out of his shop to tell me my hair is beautiful and that it’s a huge turn-on for him. i should’ve given him what for but i was caught off guard, so i just laughed and walked away.

i made another batch of dried apple slices in the dehydrator; two gala and two granny smith, and this time i used a mandolin to create perfectly even slices. i half-assedly smeared them rather than soaking them in lemon juice like i did the first batch, so these got a little bit brown, but not bad. the flavor gets super concentrated, and the green apples were pretty sour to begin with, so after they dried they were lip-puckering. i love sour apples.

i also made two batches of fruit leather: one blueberry/pineapple and one berry-berry-berry/pineapple/apple. my dehydrator trays are circular so the leather comes out looking like an LP.

i used about a cup of rasp-/blue-/marion-berries, 1/8 of a pineapple and an entire apple in the second batch, threw them all in the food processor to make a purée, then smoothed it onto the tray and tapped a few times to level. it took 6 hours to dry at about 105 degrees, fruitily scenting the house the whole time. it’s delicious.


JJ Beazley said...

You know why we haven't commented on this, don't you? We daren't. Things we've never heard of, cats called Goose, banjo pickers and lascivious Italians. Heady stuff! You'd just better smell nice tomorrow, that's all I can say!

Emily said...

hahaha, you're right, i should be more delicate about introducing such colorful new characters into the narrative. my apologies.

the perfume is actually starting to develop, amazingly enough...soon i’ll smell like flowers and just a trace of booze.

Jessica said...

You're so productive; I love it! I am always inspired by that about you. I want to make fruit leather and perfume! I need to find an herb pantry in Portland so that I can really increase my inventiveness with my teas. My bf and I are also looking into brewing healing beer infused with teas and flowers. Yum.

Keep us posted on the perfume! I know you will.

Emily said...

yeah, unemployment has been a boon for my productivity. i always make time to make things no matter what, but having all this free time is fabulous.

you would totally love the herb pantry. i hope you can find something like it. is it difficult to brew beer? my parents have tons and tons of hops growing all over the sides of the buildings on their property in mccall, and no one ever does anything with them...i picked a bunch last year intending to look into beer making but i never bothered. it’s kind of a waste.