Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Monday, November 27, 2006
Some things in the world are very reassuring. Listening to news is not one of these.... But if you need reassuring that the world is carrying on in the way that the world needs to, work with yeast.
Over the weekend I restarted my starters, since the season has come to have my little warming tank set up to help the yeasties be happy. There's always a moment when you are mixing flour and water together and you think: this will never work. Afterall, mixing flour and water together got the whole matzot thing going.
But of course, what separates sourdough from matza is one simple thing that we all have (at least when we're not fleeing from our captors!) - TIME.
So the first day - no reaction in the two containers. One is rye starter and the other a stiff levain.
Day two - not much reaction there. Doubt creeps in
Day three - BIG reaction. Doubled and bubbly and showing just how much a player yeast really is.
After last night's feed, both containers were already as big and bubbly this morning as they were the night before.
So - guess it's time to make some bread. Yes I know one could wait a few more days. The quasi-newenglander in me says it's just wrong to throw away starter when you could make bread from part of it while feeding the rest.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
One of those feel-good stories that make you say - wait a minute, now I see, we're just stupid for not seeing this way of doing things and embracing it. Oh yeah - quelle surprise - art education (instead of athletics) as a way out of poverty. Go figure.
But don't take my word for it - go listen to the Fresh Air piece by Lloyd Schwartz and decide for yourself. Requires either Real Audio or Windows Media Player. Both free downloads. Need 'em? Go get 'em!
When you're done, I'm predicting you'll be itching to allocate some fed money from one holey bucket to something that at least does some good in the world.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Hug the persons nearest to you today and pass the parsnips please.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Just a Tease
Sunday, November 19, 2006
OK, I'm sewing. Sewing things "irregularly" is not easy or fast. Geesh. I like the two pretty small chunks I've done so far but keeping it flat - well, that's my goal. So far so good. But geesh. Slow. Many seams, many pieces, small chunks.
But hey, it will make for lots of posts, right? And maybe a photo or two?
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Oh, good heavens! The list of Quilt National Participants is out. Cool cloth to brow...
Among other things today, I cat-proofed the sewing room. Oh dear. Poor kits. They have to sit in the hallway. They figured out several ways to get in before this... but this time, me and the electric drill/screwdriver WIN! At least for now.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Hopefully you'll be somewhere with better weather than I see at the moment (heard yesterday we're an inch away from hitting the "single most precip in a year" mark), so the following news will work for you:
Stargazers in New England and New York could see an "outburst" of hundreds of meteors Saturday night during the annual Leonid meteor shower, although expected cloud cover could shield Capital Region residents from the best view.
A typical Leonid shower brings 10 to 20 meteors an hour under ideal viewing conditions -- a dark sky filled with stars and free of light pollution. But this year, the Earth is passing through one of the comet's dense trails of debris, causing the concentration of activity.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Well so much for my daily posting plan, eh? What can I say? Sometimes ya got it and sometimes there are other things that draw your attention!
But that's ok. I'm sewing little bits of fabric. I'm messing around on the computer. I'm enjoying the warm un-november-like weather. If it snowed tomorrow, I'd enjoy that too. The geese keep flying back and forth. Can't quite decide whether to come or go.
Sunday, November 12, 2006
I have a long string of two squares sewn together. That's sort of fun and not-really mindless work: picking out two squares that will go together. Two that will be sewn to to others or maybe more.
My plan right now is to sew quite a few of these together and then start making blocks and strips from them. Since I have two sizes of squares, I may have to figure out some common sizes to trim down to.
My normal method is to use my biggest omni square as a tray to hold all the squares. This is set to the left of my machine. I grab two squares and sew them.
Nothing magic there. Just straight forward: pick up and sew. Over and over again. Press the seams. Repeat. Keep repeating until I have enough to make something of it.
Actually, this is not my "normal" procedure. Over the past few years my normal method is to take all my squares and lay them out for color placement and then sew together.
This new method gives me a way to mush around differnet color combinations and add additional strips of color and then do the laying out later. Time will tell I guess.
Flash! She sews!
Well first there was the traditional lead into sewing: the ceremonial cleaning of the sewing machine. Oiling, de-fuzzing, replacement of needle. Then the ritual of choosing the thread for piecing and winding some bobbins. Then, in the time remaining, sewing. Yes, sewing. Not as much sewing as ritual mind you, but it doesn't pay to fight tradition. Tradition almost always wins. But yes, piecing did happen in my sewing room last night.
In an on-going discussion on the QuiltArt list about the fine line between embellishment and "gratuitous bling"® (just kidding about the ®) someone issued a challenge to make something with only fabric, thread, scissors and sewing machine.
Well, I'm not going back to scissors for most things hon, but otherwise, ho hum. I do make quilts after all, which seem to be all about fabric, thread and sewing machines, with a smidge or two of rotary cutting or maybe ripping. Let's just settle on the idea of cutting up fabric somehow.
Lots of fabric and lots of thread and lots of sewing machine time and some cutting time in my future.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
new word for the day
So the NYTimes Mag is all about comedy and being funny (somehow that is just so appropriate after the elections are finally over, isn't it?) and there's an essay in there by Garrison Keillor which contains this:
How to Write Your First Hollywood Comedy
By Garrison Keillor, star and screenwriter, “Prairie Home Companion”
...2. Find a director. A famous one who is older than you and who is famous for improvised dialogue. This takes so much pressure off the screenwriter. Let’s say you choose Robert Altman. Call up your friend who knows a guy who went to college with a guy who is now Robert Altman’s attorney and wangle a dinner date with Mr. Altman. A threecourse meal in a place with ficus plants and white tablecloths. Mr. Altman has just finished shooting a new picture and he is in a grand mood. He regales you with stories about his famous movies, and then, polite man that he is (he is from the Midwest), he asks if there was something you wished to talk about. “Yes, sir,” you say, “there is.”
Well! I thought - wangle? Wrangle certainly. But no, of course the combination of Mr. Keillor and the NYTimes would not leave an "r" out of a word, not even to make it funny. So I did the right thing -- I looked it up. So here for your edification and amusement:
to obtain something desired by persuasion or manipulation; often by means of scheming, trickery or deceit.
Now go, wangle somthing for yourself!
Friday, November 10, 2006
Sleep was good. I was so tired last night I set up the coffee pot, changed the time and then didn't set it to turn on this morning. Ooops! Good thing it only takes a short while to get the ol' caffeine thing going.
Got going and went grocery shopping. It was oddly quiet in there, even the workers said so. No idea why except that many people were off work yesterday and maybe they did their shopping then. Whatever. I did some extra shopping for future baking, and some pantry items and some "emergency lunch" stuff.
I've been doing pretty well on the "bring my own lunch" thing but last week I sort of fell off the wagon. When leftovers or lunch materials fail, it's good to have a back up plan. A lot of my co-workers are into the lean cuisine meals - reasonable calories, very reasonable price. Just a bit heavy on the sodium but what are you going to do?
My backup stash includes some Progresso soups which are also a co-worker favorite, so I got some of those. I also found some Indian food packets which sound pretty darn good and meet the Lean Cuisines price point. Now that would be quite cool if they taste as good as they sound. And I'd be more than glad to make some rice and freeze it in lunch-size portions.
Today it was positively balmy so I went out and soaked up some rays for awhile in the yard. Didn't do much, just enjoyed a rare warm November day. The next door chickens figured out that I put out some bird seed so they'll be hanging around more in the future.
Now - fabric mushing. No freezing involved there either!
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Head, meet pillow.
Whew, I'm just plain tuckered out. Two 8AM work day starts and today, 7AM. All in the garden of "physical inventory" - the counting of things you are supposed to have and the looking for things that you don't seem to... LOL. Well, something like that.I guess I'm pleased that over the course of a few weeks of pure brute force and somewhat intense nit-picking scrutiny and correction, what I worked with came out pretty darn good. The stuff that was next up and too late to start working on - not as good. Now we'll see what happens from there.
On a more interesting note, I was able to flip around in my new book a bit last night. And folks, it's a big warm feeling to walk into your workplace with a big book under your arm and flip it open, pointing to a page and saying "this here, it's MINE. I made this." There's something about being related to a big picture in an impressive looking book that is just consciousness-raising.
Finally, when it's dark on both ends of the day, it's worth getting to work a little early so you can stand in the parking lot, sipping hot coffee and watching the sun peek through the clouds. That was my morning a couple days this week and it was a good thing.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Oh my gosh! I just got my copy of Creative Quilting, The Journal Quilt Project and am blown away by it. It's huge and filled in a most readable sort of way with full page and smaller images with text about each journal quilt.
One of my quilts (ok, it's the one I like best of the two that I have in), August 2002 got a full page treatment. The other one, September 2003 is on a two-page spread with other red quilts. Cool.
That was a nice surprise to come home to!
Monday, November 06, 2006
Giddy with Geekiness!
What can I say? I debated for quite awhile, diddled around, cut and pasted, asked around, diddled some more, googled, and finally said, "self, you HAVE a book on mySQL. Use it."
And there, on page 154, was what I sought.
I tried it in a "cautious" mode and then let rip with this result:
"Affected rows: 1180 (Query took 0.0695 sec)"
Yeah baby, now that's what I'm talking about. So the blogger-import-title problem - a thing of the past. And while I was messing around directly on the mySQL side of things, I think I got rid of all the duplicate posts. Since I won't be importing anymore from the blogger side, dupes won't be a problem.
So yeah for me - if only there was a merit badge or something.
For posterity, if you're trying to replace ugly titles in WP caused by importing from blogger, and can work with phpMyAdmin to access the mySQL, consider this:
SET post_title = '----'
WHERE post_title >= 30
AND post_title <= 99999999999999999`
Remove the single ticks at the beginning and end. Back up FIRST! Yes - BACK UP!
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Another jolly Monday. Tonight I stopped and picked up a couple things at the store and came home. Made a cup of coffee and whaddya know -- total happiness is having picked up half and half at the store and pouring the last of the previous h&h into your mug when you get home.
Then I came upstairs and mushed some fabric around.
Not quite ready to start sewing yet.
Had a good chuckle when faithful reader and commenter Naomi confessed her silk addiction to the whole QuiltArt email list. LOL - I'm just a beginner at that one, Naomi! But I can feel your pain.... Got any bright yellow/gold?
And now for a brief political announcement or two.
First off, it's election day tomorrow so get out there and vote for somebody. Early and often as they say.
note to politicos and their handlers
OK idiots. You enticed me to think hard on voting out all the incumbants. I'm for the idea in theory. But folks! If you want me to vote for change, how about acting like you'll be different? No dirty tricks. No bad-mouthing. No sleaze.
Tell me about the candidate and why he or she is a better alternative. And then:
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Welcome to November
Temps in the 20's last night, after waves of dark grey clouds that looked the sort that would just drop a foot of "possible flurries" at your doorstep. The wind blew last night which would have "moderated" the temperature, but the moon was beaming in clear skies, a key to "radiational cooling". Bottom line: cold and clear night, bright and cold day today.
Yesterday my main event was making lasagna. Not a hard thing, it entails using a lot of pans. One big one for the noodles. A big bowl for the cheese filling. A big skillet to change the marinara into bolognese.
One of those dishes that takes some planning, takes a little bit of time but is easier than you'd think given the to-do list for making it. And of course, the pay off is up there in food-for-the-gods range, am I right?
On a quilty note, I did pull out some fabric and mush them around on my ironing board last night. I had small squares from my huge pile of two inch squares. I had some larger squares remaindered from the last quilt. I had some two inch strips that are stored as future squares. And yes, I do often cut strips of new fabric right away for adding to the pile of small squares. I had some uncut fabric.
I think it was looking pretty good. Needs more grey and greyish browns. Maybe some blacks.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Sorry - I'm counting yesterday's two posts as two days. Took about that long to get them published!
My day was spent wondering how I became chief-mediator/diplomat. Who knows? Sure shocks the heck out of me!
I enjoyed my after-day-job time. I could have gone to a dance, but I chose not to. Instead, I went grocery shopping. I know what you're thinking, but trust me on this: it was quite OK.
Shopping around 6:30-7pm on a Friday is one of the great discoveries I've made in my life. Not too many people around because most of them are home having dinner or something. Most likely they've done produce stocking to recover from the "rush". Cashier people are not jigging from one foot to another waiting for their shift to end.
Came home, passing the truck that tried to pull over to the passing lane each time I tried to pass... but he finally gave up. And he did not then ride my bumper. Probably figured I would call the police, which I would have!
Came home to a quiet cold night with a big bright moon. Did a couple things inside before retrieving the groceries and put it all away. Played with the geek stuff for a bit and sort of recovered from my total brain freeze of the night before.
Crawled into a nice warm bed with a new book and magazine and conked off to sleep shortly thereafter.
I don't know if or when this post will go through, but I wanted to note that today I woke up to SNOW! wet and slushy but still, the white stuff. Winter has arrived.
That is all.
Oh wait, there is more:
PS, I know the full transition to this site is going to take a little while, but if you're looking for new photos and posts, please bookmark this page rather than the original.... blogger is just not cooperating re posting.
PPS: I think I promised photos of my recent fabric purchase. Camera came back (and so do photos to this here blog...) and here you go:
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Well tonight I took a deep breath and moved my whole "old" blogger blog here. Oh my. Anything like that is a little scary, but it went pretty smoothly after reading about what could go wrong. I did back up, but of course I lost my blogger settings. That won't be hard to recreate if needed. I'll have to figure out how to truncate the archives a bit - people give me a look when I say I've been blogging since 2001.... If you wander around in my past, know that it will take awhile for me to go through and straighten out any weirded out links, images etc.
But you know, there's a plan, and this is a small part of it. So here we go on a new adventure!
NOTE: It took me most of a 24 hour day to publish this so please go to the other site for new posts for the near future. Thanks.
Welcome to NABLOPOMO!
What is it?It's National Blog Posting Month!Why the hell would I want to do that?You started a blog to make yourself write more often?NaBloPoMo is an alternative to November's NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, the program wherein you crank out a novel in thirty days.Some of us lack the imagination, stamina, and self-destructive impulses required to write a novel that quickly, but, by Grabthar's Hammer, we can update our blogs every day for a month!RulesPost every day for the month of November. That's it.So there you have - hope for a full month of posts. What are you you going to blog this month?