shortbread 007 This is what three skeins of Connemara looks like, on its way to becoming a Bijoux blouse.

Yesterday I took some time to work out, and I also watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding and worked on the lengthening of the sleeves of Pipes.

When #1 daughter got engaged, she got us all together to watch this movie, because she said it was just what she knew we would be going through.

No member of the movie families in any way resembles any member of our family, but the culture conflict and the immigrant experience are both captured impressively well. Since we are coping with some of that at our house right now, there was a bit of comfort in watching it.

But mostly I worked on the store website. It was my day off for the week yesterday, so that might have been an error. By Sunday, I may be wishing that I had spent that day in housework and errands, or at least in lolling about. However, I have a sense of urgency about this project, and also it is fun, as new challenges generally are.

So I went ahead and used the day to see how telecommuting would work out.

Taking a Pilates break during the workday is great.

shortbread 003 It is also very nice to be home when the kids get home from school. I was able to greet them with some freshly-baked almond shortbread, which is not something you can do from a store.

If you ever want to make shortbread, you will find it very easy. Here are the basic ingredients:

1c. flour
1/2 c. butter
1/3 c sugar

See how they go 1-2-3? That makes it easy to remember. You can be creative with the types of flour and sugar, but don’t fool around with butter substitutes. White flour and confectioner’s sugar will give you a nice basic shortbread, but rice flour gives a very delicate result, and whole wheat flour or a multigrain mix gives you some hint of nutrition.

You can mix the ingredients with an electric mixer, which makes the whole process very quick and easy. Then you can add other things. Vanilla is classic. The one you see here has almond extract and sliced almonds. You can use finely powdered green tea, dried pineapple and coconut, cocoa powder, dried cherries with almond extract, orange peel, lavender blossoms — there really shortbread 006 is no end to the possibilities.

You don’t really end up with a dough, but with a sort of powdery mixture. So it is best to press into into a shortbread pan like this one, or use a cake pan and cut it into wedges.

If you are determined to make it in shapes, you can. You have to sort of pat it out and cut it with your cutters, then very carefully balance it on a spatula and put it on the pan.

Adding an egg makes it less authentic, but is practical if you want to make cookie cutter shapes.

If you make shapes, you can then dip them into melted chocolate and set them on waxed paper to dry. To do this, melt chocolate in your double boiler (or microwave) and stir in a tablespoon of butter. If you don’t care about the health issues (and it may be a moot point when you’re making shortbread), shortening gives a nice glossy finish, but of course butter has a better flavor.

The boys like having me at home to greet them, and they like after-school snacks hot from the oven, but they are concerned that, if I am working at home some days, it will cut into their computer game time. However, I think I can get in eight hours without inconveniencing them much. I have already warned the family not to think that I can be a full-time homemaker just because I am working at home.

If, of course, that turns out to be what I do. There is still a good deal of suspense on that front.