Here is Juliet, another doll from forthcoming Shakespeare shop update. Juliet has never been among my favourite Shakepearean characters, and when it comes the the play, I've always preferred Thibalt and Mercutio, as they have great names and the coolest lines (' A plague on both your houses' has to be one of the best verbal slap-downs of all time). But one of the questions on the last exam I gave my students was "Who is the most tragic literary character of all time and why", and a student of mine wrote a pretty convincing case for Juliet, so I decided to try to bring her to life in an interesting way.
My Juliet is dressed all in silk and holds a tiny, anatomical heart. I'll post more photos and a more detailed description of her on Thursday when I list all the new items for the update. Characters from the Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet and MacBeth still to come...
To celebrate my newly acquired masses of time so deliciously unoppressed by a schedule, I decide to make cupcakes this past weekend. In the world of baking, cupcakes strike me as the most luxurious thing to make; they are cute and fussy and have no redeeming health benefits. They are something you make when have time on your hands, so for months I've been promising my sweet-toothed husband that when I finished school, I would make some. They came to symbolize a life unfettered by time constraints and the daily grind. A heavy burden for a bit of cake and icing to carry, I realize now.
In the end, the cupcakes themselves were no great hell, despite the real vanilla from an actual pod and a whole mess of butter. Thus, I won't post the recipe here; I'll wait till I've found the perfect one. BUT I must say that the icing I made was the very best I've ever had, so if you like cream cheese icing that's not too cloyingly sweet, I promise this is worth copying down. You will need:
8 oz. cold cream cheese
5oz. butter, room temperature
1 scant cup of icing sugar*
the juice and zest of one lemon
1 tsp - 1tbsp of pure vanilla extract, according to taste
Put everything in a food processor and pulse until just blended. It's important that cream cheese be cold and the butter soft so that the icing blends well and doesn't become grainy. The icing will be quite soft from the lemon juice, so you can put it in the fridge for a few hours to firm up. *The recipe called for two cups of icing sugar, so add more if you like it sweeter, but this was still pretty sweet.