Shellac Your Stuff UP!

I love shiny stuff. Someone or some book or some spoken authority put it in my head that the reason we like bling or jewelry or otherwise shiny stuff is that water shines in the sunlight. That the sparkle may indicate securing things like water -has encoded in our DNA. I’ve had people argue this with me and perhaps they are right. All I know is I like my world to shine and be OCD clean. Being surrounded by order makes me feel so happy. 

Reasons to make your own shellac are two-fold.  1) to understand how the world works. 2) To control the viscosity. 

Like many things in the world it is surprisingly simple. The dementors have made it difficult for profit.  Like cranberry sauce it is basically 50% to 50% rosin and denatured alcohol.

 

The above shows both the rosin in blocks as it comes and the bottom is what it looked like after I hit it with a wooden mallet. Not super necessary. 

    Then just pour the alcohol in a bottle and plop in the resin. Wait about 24 hours while it melters:

shellacsolving

Here’s a sample fresh out of the oven!shellacjar

Always Always Always make sure to label all solvents or chemicals you work with even for a second. You might think you will remember what they are but it doesn’t matter. That’s why I put ye ol Skull and cross bones. This is very safe to use and make. but make sure you know the nature of any solvents and chemicals you use and never be cavalier about their use.

The solvent for this is of course denatured alcohol but the resin is so sticky I only ever use chip brushes with it bc I’m not going to spend all day cleaning out cheap brushes- but if you do use brushes- no matter what you are painting with always soak your brush thoroughly in the material’s solvent and save clean-up time by 80%

chip

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Cranberries That Everyone Wants to Grab

I know we can’t admit it as a nation but cranberries are a problem. They’re part of our annual thanksgiving and yet…They can be hard to love.

freshcran

Still there is no reason to turn to the can. Nothing is more important in passing down traditions than in cooking. And Cran relish is shockingly easy.

It’s basically a 2 to 1 ratio of cranberries to sugar(just don’t tell anyone-and it will seem less poisonous)important edit the 2 is the sugar and the 1 is the American Revolution Berry-so something that looks like this:

 

cransugar

Combine in sauce pan with about two tablespoons of water for each half-cup of berries. Then while it is coming to a roiling boil:cranboil

Add about a 1/2 a teaspoon of orange zest

orange-zest and my secret trick- 1/2 a teaspoon of lime zest.

limezest (All these proportions are based on 1/2 cup of berries). The lime really knocks it back a bit.

Because there is so much sugar in it, you have to stir pretty frequently. It’s done in only 10 minutes though. 

cranalmostdone

I am not sure why but this must be served in a clear dish. Preferably one that is shaped like a bunch of grapes. Don’t ask me why bc I’ve been sworn to secrecy. I don’t currently have one bc mine has been subpoenaed by a probate lawyer I met in a dream. (Don’t ask-am not at liberty)

tada