Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Green things

Easter Egg Planter

We finally had our first solid "good" weekend weather of the Spring. It was pretty sweet.

Last year I goofed around on the deck trying to grow crazy things in little bottles... all from seed. This year I've no such ridiculous restrictions. Given my flirtations with cooking, I actually want results this time around. Wish I hadn't accidentally killed that rosemary bush... damn...

2012's planters

The growing of things isn't entirely without silliness however. For Easter this year I was seized with a overwhelming ferver to make little planters out of Easter eggs. I emptied a number of them (via Dremel and syringe), dyed them, and then filled them with a pinch of gravel and dirt. And seeds. Made approx. 6 of those bad boys.... and then 1-2 days after Easter, right after I had hung them up outside, it poured down rain so viciously the dye was washed off and the seeds basically killed. Oops. Luckily 2 remained indoors and both have sprouted- the basil fairing much better then the mint (of which so far there is exactly 1 sprout-ling)

In other green-things, I finally took a stab at avocado bread. It started off *so* nice... smoothest, nicest dough I've worked with so far. Fun to touch! But then when pfffffffth in the second rising and just sorta' spread out rather then rising up. Boo. Should have put it into a bread tin....

Avocado & Blackberry
Also made a tiny bit of fresh blackberry bread. Soooo oozy and wet and terrible to start with! But surprisingly it turned out pretty tasty. It's not so much that you could taste the blackberries... but you could taste something!
Also, the color was pretty sweet! While the avocado bread had a lovely green thing going on to start with, baking it really muted it.

Fact: it was a pretty sweet weekend. Week, even.

  • On Tuesday Adam and I went to see Justice. We showed up waaaay too early (lame) which meant we were able to claim space against the railing on the 2nd tier of the Fox's GA section (super awesome).
  • On Wednesday Adam and I went to see Godspeed You! Black Emporor. Claimed near-optimal seating on balcony to the left of the band. Did you know the Great American Music Hall serves up wicked awesome brownie sundays for only $8?
  • On Thursday Adam got me a ticket to the opening movie/event for the SFIFF. Pretty posh!
  • On Friday I hurt... allergies started to kick in and my body taxed me for the week's joy
  • On Saturday I was tipped off that the Lost Horizon Night Market was happening! Among many other things, I attended the Prom truck.
  • On Sunday the GWS house had the first BBQ of the year! Friends + Meat + Fire + Sunshine + Sugar + Game of Thrones = Happiness. Did you know smoking a hookah while laying in a hammock is an even more fantastic experience then just smoking a hookah?
  • On Monday Adam and I went to the SFIFF showing of Buster Keton shorts with live music from Merrill Garbus (of Tune-Yards) & crew. How have I not seen Buster Keaton before?? He's like a fey crossed with a clown- it hurts my head.

Sigh... it's 11:35pm and my bread has now just finished it's 1st rise... I really need to work on this...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Back to the fabrics

Purple CurlsI like this see-sawing between yarn and fabric projects. What I do with them feels different and it's nice (for my wrists and eyesight!) to keep mixing it up...

Pulled together a new little bottlecap monster while watching the rest of House season 7. Ugh. Don't get me started. Stupid House. Stupid. Anyway, while watching stuff I whipped him up- cheated and used a sewing machine to hold the curls in place. The feet are wire with tips dipped in crayon again. This time I did some floss wrapping till it met the fabric- definitely helped. The fingers are still flexible- presumably the fellow could hold a pencil- haven't tried yet. Have settled on the key for crayon dipping- it needs to be at a mid-range temperature that I can't maintain over or off a flame. So I wind up melting a crayon and then dipping repeatedly till I find the right window (of about 1-2 minutes?) where the crayon will be liquidly enough to form a smooth surface and yet thick enough that a blob will stay on the wire...

Also, this guy has ~$0.40 in change in him which gives him pleasing weight. Yay for weighting things with nickels and pennies!

Purple Curls

Speaking of fabric projects... while the Catan quilt isn't done, most of the fun "quilt" aspects of it are... now it's just stupid snaps everywhere. This lead me to feeling clear enough of conscience to persue the idea of a new quilt project... Wound up spending a lot of time Sunday morning "planning" a quilt based off of this lovely quilt pattern... But after jumping in the shower I realized how it was not to be... The idea of making some arbitrary geometric quilt based off of some random pattern just isn't... me. It doesn't feel "true" to myself, as corny as that sounds.

All is not sadness and woe however! In that very same shower I remembered that I already had another quilt project in the works! Yes! That ancient Pythagorean Proofs Quilt idea!
Oh, yeah, that thing...

Looking at what I have so far, I'd say I'm halfway done with the applique... And there's lots of odds and ends of space filling between the blocks that I'll somehow have to come up with fabric piecings for, which makes me happy to think about.
Left to do:
  • Finish lower left applique (one edge left of green square)
  • Re-do upper left applique & embroider text/proof
  • Make 2 more proofs
  • Figure out how to lay out the proofs
So... there's that to be excited about. I also started ever so slightly to entertain the idea for a 4 bit adder quilt showing the logic gates (a lot of XOR and AND gates)... but that's far down the line, and also might not come together... There's also the idea of the Starcraft quilt, if I can ever get/find the unit screen shots/artwork I need for it!

In conclusion, some more of the new purple curl monster... His eyes are magical- A pair of lovely beads I randomly found hiding in my bead box- they look like drops of oil! He perches on the edge of the molding above the TV between the den and the kitchen. This pleases me.

Purple Curls

Purple Curls

Monday, April 16, 2012

A little failure, a dash of winning.

Face Hugger Crackers

I've been having a string of cooking failures lately. Some really awful mango bread that either didn't rise and/or didn't have the right ratios. This evening I tried to make crackers and they wound up taking like undercooked flour because... well, that's probably what they were... but golly gee was I happy with them! Who cares what they *taste* like- it's all about how they look!

Face Hugger CrackersNormally when I have a big "thing" I plan on, I don't want to share too much about it because of the whole threat of failure. I've already blabbed enough in person about my dinner party idea, so no reason not to mention it here-- I'm working on a Aliens themed dinner. Aiming for several courses & really fancy stuff. Not a litteral translation of the film, but a sort of mood feeling.... Unfortunately the "facehugger" course had been really stumping me. It was too vital of stage to leave out and yet.. nothing I could think of really conveyed the vibe...

Then I was saved! Google Reader randomly tossed up a killer blog post from Juggling Frogs about how to make your own cookie cutters. Instantly the dish crystalized in my mind. I started working on the cutter Saturday night, gave myself a lovely nick in my thumb, took of Sunday, and finished it tonight- Monday.

The recipe I tried tonight was no better then edible playdough. I'm not concerned however- the important part was that the cutter held up after several uses and as expected- draping the "skins" over tinfoil balls provides the perfect "crawling" effect I was hoping for! Anyone have any good cracker recipe suggestions?

Face Hugger Crackers

The actual dish/course will probably just be the crackers and some nice cheese... perhaps a soup course instead... haven't decided yet. Am aiming for exceptionally light and crispy facehuggers in the end...

[Update : I actually had the Aliens dinner party on 6/16/2012! Read about it here]

As stated above- am not winning much with other cooking... was psyched to make some avocado bread, but then got lazy.. was going to settle on avocado cookies but by the time I got around to cutting into my avocado it had started rotting on the inside! Ewww! Had already pulled out half my ingrediants so I was forced into a more mundane cookie... managed a minor rebellion by using marshmallows rather then the called for chopped walnuts... I will confess to their tastyness, but really... how can you go wrong with a stick of butter? That's a low bar.


All the cookies are gone now, over half consumed by me alone... I'd feel guilty, but Adam and I went on a kick-ass 12 mile urban hike this weekend from our front steps to the South San Francisco BART stop. It was glorious! We saw parts of SF we'd never seen before - both good and bad. So... yeah... I'm feeling pretty great right now.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

End of Winter

A moment of silence, please. MidWinter, the tabletop game I've been playing since the end of October 2010, came to a close this last weekend. Good times, good times. Everything wrapped up neatly and my character became a princess, then lived unhappily ever after. Winning all around.

Fitting that we're heading into Spring now. Having a spot of sunshine here and there in the city now, but it's still a pinch too chilly for my taste. That just means its easier to hang around inside guilt free!


Tried my hand at cookies a bit ago... made mint monstrosities. I blame the mortar and pestal I picked up for no good reason and then felt inclined to abuse. I ground up some rosemary and then probably twice the number of mint leaves I needed. Hey, I'm learning...


While sitting around inside looking at the sunshine, but fearing the bite of cold the actual outdoors inflicts, I crocheted another monster. Came out way, way, way to similar to the previous guy I made, so I am sad about that. Again, fell back on old ways and he's 4 different shades of mossy-ness.

His only redeeming quality, other then the sweet Elvis curls, is the fact that he has quite a number of pennies in his guts. This means he is exceptionally pleasing to hold. Weight adds much to a monster, I feel. I also like the use of beads for "toes" and his eyes-- I have a bag of super cheap white plastic pearls, which I can now paint with nail polish for a great range of eyes. Always important!


Should be noted that the fantastic green yarn of his back was picked up in Paris. Hurray for travel yarns being put to use!

Final notes:

  • SiblingsMy sisters both randomly passed through town at the same time this last weekend. Very fun. Can't say we got along great growing up, but absence (and brief visits) make the heart grow fonder. They are also both growing up to be far more awesome then originally anticipated. The sorority girl is kicking butt on her path towards her biochem-ish PhD. The punk has mellowed and matured enough to get into med school. And here I thought they'd just major in English ;)

  • Made more bread.
    • First set was sad. Finished off the second half of the squid ink packet. Stuff is crazy potent. Tried to make "blueberry" flavored bread. It didn't work/taste like anything. I read blog posts that warned me it would be so, but I had to try. The color wasn't even that striking... wound up tossing a lot of it.
      Squid Ink & Blueberry bread
    • Next set was better. Didn't put the boiling water on the lower rack this time and the crust came out rather ugly like. Also, photography of this set was a total failure. It was however the tastiest bread so far. Beets again, with the other half being bananas and (WAY TOO MUCH) rosemary. All the bread reeked of rosemary, but the taste was not harmed. The bananas in the bread were not noticeable, but I put chunks of banana in both types and it tasted super yummy. New goal now is to A) make smaller batches of bread and B) get more interesting fruit in there somehow... am thinking mangos next.
      Ugly bread