mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-05-20 12:20 pm
Entry tags:

*SQUEE!*

[profile] eithni got me a copy of Wild Color: The complete guide to making and using natural dyes for CHEAP! My stoopid hurty-neck kept me from being useful for terribly long last night, so I laid around reading for the better part of the evening... The pictures are beautiful, but I'm bit concerned by her casual use of "stale urine" as an ingredient...
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-05-13 03:07 pm
Entry tags:

Pretty Princess Kit:

So... I have this problem. I don't have as much quality garb as I'd like for the reign. (2 outfits ain't gonna cut it... I managed to wear both of them in one day at Crown, and I've got 2 WARS to attend...)

That being the case, and being as I've had more kind offers to help than I can keep track of, Eithni and I put together some "tunic kits" last night. We cut out all the pieces required to make me a tunic, printed off some assembly instructions, and a card with contact info if there are any questions, jammed it all in a zip-lock baggie, and now anyone who wants to help CAN with very little trouble. All you need are a needle, thread, and nimble fingers or a fancy machine...

I'm hoping that I can put together some similar "kits" for [livejournal.com profile] sirzig next week and get those into circulation quickly as well.

My only complaint? I really, really hate cutting out patterns. It is my LEAST favorite part of sewing. I really love sewing... I want someone to make ME a Pretty Princess Kit so I'll have an excuse to go sit in a corner and play with string.

Ah, well. Hopefully I can get one together for myself in time for the looooong drive out to Silks, Needles, and More! out in Korsvag. That'll be something to look forward to. In the mean time, I'm trying to figure out if I have time to slap together a new apron dress for ARRG! You know... Because I have too much spare time on my hands.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-05-13 12:18 am
Entry tags:

Mama's Advice

Remember when you were little and your Mama told you not to cut your own hair because you'd end up looking stupid?

That advice remains sage even when you're older. Even if it's for a cool project. Even if you're Princess. None of these things makes you a hairdresser.

Boy do I look like an idiot. I hope my bangs grow back before ARRG.

Speaking of which, I hope you will all come and fence in my tourneys! Yes, that's TWO WHOLE TOURNEYS. Sile said I didn't have to choose which tourney format I liked more. She is letting me have BOTH. She is sweetest ever. Now I just need to get dispensation from the King and Queen to write up some pardons for a few people...
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-05-11 12:26 am
Entry tags:

The Unimaginable

Home from the event. I am wrecked. The house is wrecked... I think my tidily planned schedule for the next year is uh... "dramatically altered."

I have a mess of organizing to do. I need to call "Merry Mongol Maids" and tell them I got a recommendation from previous patrons... Hope their Aelfs can work miracles...

Would anyone like to stand in for me as Gate Troll at AARG? Aparently I'll be too busy holding a tourney to take care of that myself. Sorry Sile.

Thank you to everyone who shared the day with me and kept me too distracted to get nervous. Hope I can make you all proud to be Northshield. I know I am.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-05-07 10:12 am

Tar Babies:

My black wax came in the mail, and I have painted my cheeses black!



Zig had to go to the store last night, so I put in a request for a silver paint marker, so I could label them with their start dates and types so that I'll know when they're "ripe." Hopefully I'll eventually have enough cheeses that these labels will be necessary...
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-05-04 10:22 am
Entry tags:

Flowers and Cheddars

[livejournal.com profile] sirzig brought me flowers on Friday. Purple tulips. How pretty!


They're sitting in my kitchen window, and they make me smile every time I look at them. I have spent a fair amount of time looking at them over the weekend, because of my new obsession with cheese making. On which note, I have some cheese-porn for you...


Here are the cheddar and the monterey jack I made last week. They're in the drying phase and almost ready to be waxed and aged. You can really see the difference in how tightly the curds got pressed. Both cheeses started out with roughly the same amount of curds, but the cheddar was pressed with 50 lbs and the monterey jack only got pressed with 8. Thus the jack is much "fluffier."


Hopefully my fancy black cheese wax gets here soon so I can carry out my plan to make goth cheeses... (The pun continues to grow: "My cheeses are clearly goth because after they are de-pressed, I paint them black and put them in my dank basement where they will hang out and try to be cool.") Someone also mentioned the idea of smoking, and while I think smoking my cheeses might be a fine idea, I haven't figured out how to work that into the extended pun.

The mozzarella and ginger ale I took to May Day seemed to go over rather well. This week, I'd like to make another cheddar - this time with craisins pressed in the curds. With Crown coming at me like a freight train, though, I'm not sure if I'll have the time.
mightyjesse: (coffee)
2009-05-01 02:44 pm
Entry tags:

Things Made for Eatin'!

So... Here is the leetle cheese that I just pulled out of my cheese press:


It's a Monterey Jack with dill and a pinch of onion powder... It is currently drying on a plate in the cupboard. When it is completely dry, I will wax it and put it in a cooler in the basement to age.

Replacing the Jack in the cheese press, I have placed my first attempt at cheddar... Alas, i fear this experiment may be made of fail. A taste of the curds as I was flipping the cheese revealed them to be a bit on the bitter and grainy side.... Additionally, I fear that my press was not rated for cheddar (Requiring 50 lbs of pressure on the curds... The hoop keeps tilting and squirting curds out the bottom... It's a little disturbing.) I'll see how 3 months of aging does for it... I hear there's some kind of "magic flavor change" at the two month aging mark...

And speaking of aging cheeses, I have ordered black wax in which to dip my cheeses to protect them during the aging process. (I've got a wax stamp for letters that I intend to mark my little cheeses with too... Soon I will have a bunch of little goth cheeses hanging out in my basement. :) For some reason this idea makes me extremely silly happy. Hopefully they will be tasty cheeses that I will be pleased to call my own, but only time will tell.

Oh, OH! And I also started a gallon of ginger ale that should be ready for drinkin' by the May Day Moot. I hope it doesn't suck... I also hope I don't sample it all before the moot....
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-27 09:39 am

Cheese and Salsa.

So. Despite the fact that I am left handed, I can only handle a needle with my right hand... Which is problematic right now because my pseudo-gout is acting up, and my right thumb is swollen and utterly useless. (I'm having trouble shifting gears in my car right now... My right hand is being seriously defective!) Needless to say, there will likely be very little sewing for me until my thumb decides to fix itself up. (Probably in a couple weeks.)

I think I forgot to mention that this is why I've suddenly switched gears and gone all dairy on you of late. Making things in my kitchen doesn't seem to require quite as much manual dexterity as my usual hobbies... Thus my current cheesy-progression.

SO!

On Saturday, I went to the Willy Street Co-op and got some citric acid and rennet, and spent 5 hours making mozzarella cheese with this recipe. I'm pleased to report that my cheese is BEAUTIFUL and yummy, and behaves (quite to my surprise) like real cheese. It melts when you heat it and stretches out into lovely strings and everything!



One gallon of milk makes about 12 oz of mozzarella. Ricotta was a possible by-product of this project, and while I did try for it, 3 quarts of whey doesn't really seem to make a useable amount of ricotta... I think I made about 3T of ricotta... I have 0 recipies that call for 3 tablespoons of ricotta...

Oh, well. Maggie and Jasmine think whey is MADE OF AWESOME, so the next batch will likely become a food-suppliment for my little beasties.

Saturday, I also went to a Salsa Rueda class with Miss [livejournal.com profile] jinglymushroom and, while the class went longer than I expected, I like to think that I sucked rather less than anticipated. I was actually able to have fun this time 'round, rather than being concerned that I might commit accidental violence upon my partner's toes...
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-24 01:27 pm

Yogurt:

So. For second breakfast today I had ginger yogurt that I made from scratch last night. In the crock pot. I'm ridiculously pleased with myself.

  1. I got a quart size ziploc screw top container and washed it out. Nuked it for a bit to make sure it was germ free.

  2. I filled my crock pot with hot water from the tap. It comes out at 120 degrees or so. I then had to wait 20-30 minutes for the water temp to drop to 115F.

  3. While waiting for the water to cool I added room temperature whole milk (75F) to the "sterile" ziploc container and whisked in a heaping tablespoon of plain yogurt (also room temp) I got at the grocery store. This yogurt is my "starter" just as with a sourdough.

  4. When the water in the crock pot hit 115F I immersed my milk container in the water bath and then balanced the crock pot lid on top. There was about an inch gap between the lid of the crock and the pot. This is fine because the actual temp I want to maintain is 110F.


  5. When the temp in the crock pot got to 110F, I TURNED ON the crock pot to the WARM setting. (WARMING is actually set for higher than 110F on the Rival pot I use, but with the lid ajar, I was able to leave it at that setting for 1 hour before the temp started to climb.


  6. I checked the temp every 1/2 hour and turned the crock pot on or off as needed over the next couple of hours until I went to bed. At that point, I turned the pot OFF and covered the whole assembly with a towel to insulate.

  7. When I came down in the morning, it was yogurt! YAY! I added my flavorants (ginger root and splenda) directly to the 1 cup I packed for my breakfast. Always remember to reserve 1/2-3/4c of yogurt to make your next batch or you'll have to run to the store for more Dannon or Brown Cow.



Home made yogurt is more runny than store-bought, because they tend to cheat and add guar gum or gelatin to thicken their product. I made this batch without so I could sample "unadulterated yogurt." Next batch, I will heat the milk enough to scald it (keep out unwanted critters) and add some gelatin. Then I will cool it to 110F and add my yogurt... We'll see how it turns out. For now, I have a quart of yummy plain yogurt to have for lunch. Tomorrow, I think I'll try mint!
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-17 12:49 pm

I'll have the Onion Utopia Ice Cream...

So [livejournal.com profile] jinglymushroom and I split lunch at the Babcock Dairy today. (Their sandwiches are so big that if you try to eat one yourself, you will NOT have room for dessert.) Masha likes pickles on her sandwich and I don't. I like onions on my sandwich and she doesn't. To resolve this issue, we get both on the side and add as needed.

While we were waiting in line, I was trying to decide what ice cream to have later, while talking with [livejournal.com profile] jinglymushroom about where our sides of sandwich fixin's had gone (they never made it to the tray). My brain helpfully started merging the background process of ice cream flavor possibilities with the conversation at hand, and I ended up wondering what-the-hell-kind-of-flavor "Onion Utopia" ice cream was supposed to be...

It occurs to me that I am currently walking around sans one contact and that might have factored into the reading error that changed "Union Utopia" (fudge, caramel, and peanut butter swirled into vanilla ice cream) into "Onion Utopia."

Still... I was nearly ruined for dessert because my mind immediately went there. French Onion Ice Cream?

YEACH.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-16 10:59 am

Charity Projects:

A friend of mine, new to the SCA, needs a fencing jacket and all the associated do-dads related to fencing. I will be making him a doublet as soon as the pattern is available... (It is currently tied up on [livejournal.com profile] eithni's loom, as we didn't notice that there was writing on the paper until it was wound up under a bunch of warp yarn.) While I wait for the weaving to be completed, I will dye the linen canvas to the requested wine color for this project.

Also, if I wasn't already tied up making my sister's quilt, I'd probably be looking into making a couple of these helmet liners for the Citizen SAM project. The urge to go out and buy a couple skeins of Cascade 220 is overwhelming...
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-13 10:13 am

Weekend Report:

It was a busy weekend...

Friday I made another batch of Friendship Bread and hung out over at the Kegslayer residence with Angus and Zartanicus - who has a fancy new job across the street from [livejournal.com profile] sirzig and will be moving back to Madison! YAY!

I spent Saturday afternoon at [livejournal.com profile] eithni's house for "craft day." We made some good progress on warping her tasty-tasty new loom with her first project.

On Sunday, Angus and I celebrated Easter with the construction of 30 Scotch Eggs. While less decorative than pastel dyed boiled eggs, I find that eggs wrapped in cholesterol and carbs are very tasty. And now I know how to make them on my own for "event snacks!" YAY! We spent the rest of the afternoon shooting up Zombies and catching up on quilt blocks.

I did a couple more of the "do-over" quilt blocks, bringing me to a finished number of 7 of 30.

Almost a third of the way done!
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-06 10:54 am
Entry tags:

Block 3:

I finished a block on Sunday, but due to planning for Coronation and the number of projects that entailed (A hood for HRM Stephen, a White Scarf for [livejournal.com profile] fencert, and 12 drop spindle "kits" for my class.) I didn't finish any blocks on Friday or Saturday. I'll try to catch back up again over the course of this week!


This block incorporated a new stitch called a chevron stitch.

I went to a different JoAnn to get more thread and found another fabric that matches my swatches, so I picked it up on a whim and added it to this block.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-05 11:38 pm
Entry tags:

Coronation:

Coronation was a grand and successful event all around, I'm thinking! I got all of Stephen's garb done by [livejournal.com profile] eithni's prescribed deadline of more than 4 hours before the event and I think it was a fairly acceptable blend of period and not crazy-making. (Though I might have stated differently while I was making 39 button holes by hand...)

Morning court was entertaining and touching and dynamic. I'm not normally able to sit still during court, but found I was enthralled by the pagentry. I had fun stealing up behind the thrones as Aesa and Raito left the hall to adjust the Queen's Crown so that it would go on Ailleanne's head. (We were hoping we could adjust in advance, but sadly, with the crown at the right size for Ailleanne, it was a necklace for [livejournal.com profile] goldfrog.) I think the knights really had a good time with all that live-steel-waving during the taking of the throne.

My class seemed to go over well, and though it wasn't maxed out it was well enough attended that I was very glad that Mochi had time to stop by and be my Assistant Instructor. I think everyone left feeling fairly confident that they could use their kit to make good string with a little more practice! (On a side note, I notice that I hold my spindle in my right hand when I'm spinning, but for some reason I do it with my left hand when I'm trying to demonstrate to an individual. I think it's because they're facing me and my brain is trying to show them how they should see their tools as they use them. This confused the hell out of me the first time it happened because I didn't realize I had switched hands. I was just suddenly extremely lacking in coordination and my spin direction was backwards. :P If I'm going to continue trying to be ambidextrous, I obviously need to practice more with the left hand.)

The WW planning session wasn't as dreadful as I thought it was going to be. I wasn't lost and didn't come off sounding like an incompetant retard, so that's good. I'll send out the call for instructors to the NS Hall tomorrow and see what happens.

Evening court was wonderful, though I was sad that not everyone was there to recieve their award. [livejournal.com profile] sirzig did a pretty good job heralding, though he did refer to Grimmy as "Baroness." He swears it was an accident, but HRM Stephen doomed him to a world of disbelief by catching the binder he tossed down in disgust mid-air with such adroit speed and dexterity that most people assumed that the flub was rehearshed. (I'm told that HRM nearly blew a seam in his cote with that manoever.)

Blah-de-blah, blah, Crown Combatants. )
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-03 09:34 am
Entry tags:

Block 2:

Block 2 is done, and I have a picture of it in my phone. I'll add it on Monday.



When I woke up this morning, I had a sore throat, and I thought to myself, "Oh, thank God. Now I can call off work and REALLY get stuff done." :P

Yes... You probably wouldn't be too far out of line if you wanted to set me down and have a little chitty chat with me about my priorities, but can't it wait until after Coronation? I have a list of things to do, and I'm a bit concerned that I won't get them done.

1. Make a hood for Stephen so that his white under-tunic doesn't glare at me all day.
2. Go by Manards and pick up dowels to finish up my drop-spindles.
3. Finish up said drop spindles.
4. Make a quilt block.
5. Make a new White Scarf for Tristan
6. Cut out more quilt pieces.
7. Have a nap, because I really do have a sore throat and a headache.
8. Put together spinning kits with wool and finished spindles for class tomorrow.
9. Repair my dress for tomorrow. WHERE THE HELL IS MY DRESS???? I just saw it and now it's nowhere to be found... How can I possibly be missing a dress with a train that long???
10. Pick up some Mike's Hard Limemumblemumble for Green Jenny!

These tasks aren't necessarily listed in order of priority... I have a feeling I'm going to hop back and forth between projects all day until everything is done enough to make me feel at-ease.

Anyhoot... I'm off... If I don't get back to work, I'll never get all that stuff done by tomorrow! Work-free day or not!
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-02 08:58 am
Entry tags:

Block 1

Well, I must say that I'm very pleased with my first-ever quilt block. The hand-piecing doesn't appear to be going as slowly as I'd feared, and I'm really enjoying the little embroidered fidley-bits that I get to do for each block. Plus, the project materials are very portable, so I should have no trouble taking my quilt blocks wherever I go this month.



I learned a new stitch for enhancing some of the seams, and look forward to working my way through most of her stitch-dictionary over the course of this quilt.



Hopefully I've found a color selection that won't clash with the baby's room - never having seen any actual color swatches for it...

I'm still undecided on exactly how big this quilt will be, but I think at this point it's safe for me to just concentrate on my blocks and let things develop organically.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-04-01 11:33 am

God Bless the Amish

Bless them and their tasty cake-disguised-as-bread. I used the cute little bundt and heart shaped silicone baking pans that Eithni got me to make my first batch of Amish Friendship bread. I ended up with 9 little "loaves." I took 2 to Zig's Mommy (she is expecting company.) and 3 to the office, Zig and I ate one last night, and I left 3 heart-shaped loaves at home for us to enjoy over the course of the week.

I made the version that resulted in 1 extra starter, which I gave away at work... I have 3-4 requests for more starter, so I guess I'll make a big batch this time around. :P

Next batch, I think I'll put some raisins and walnuts in... It'll make a really tasty breakfast, provided all the raisins don't end up sinking to the bottom...

I've started a quilt for my sister's baby. I'm still undecided as to whether I want to hand-piece this thing, or machine stitch it. Hand-piecing will work better as a bus project. I'm hoping to get this thing done as sort of a "thing a day" for the month of April. We'll see how it goes.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-03-30 01:25 pm
Entry tags:

He KNOWS:

Every once in a while someone reaches into the zany co-mingling of interests in my head and creates imagery that ties it all together:
mightyjesse: (flutterby)
2009-03-30 10:34 am
Entry tags:

A Weight Off My Shoulders:

His Highness' Coronation garb is done by the deadline, despite the fact that the deadline was moved up by a week. I can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that if their coronation doesn't go according to plan, it won't be because of ME. *ulp!* I really hope they have an awesome day!



Now I have to clean up the huge mess I've been making in the living room for the last two months. I no longer have "more pressing responsibilities" to use as an excuse for not cleaning up after myself.
mightyjesse: (Default)
2009-03-27 03:10 pm
Entry tags:

Pro-Duck-Tivity

I'm always pro-duck. Especially the rubber kind that hangs out in my bathroom from time to time, before being summarily devoured by an enthusiastic little dog. That aside, I'm having trouble being productive lately.

I'm grinding my way through making Stephen's Coronation garb. (Thank God, [livejournal.com profile] devikat is coming by to help me tonight!!!) And I've ordered the parts I need for my class at Coronation.

Did I mention I was teaching a drop-spinning class at Coronation?

I'm teaching a drop-spinning class for beginners at Coronation. I will go over the 3 basic types of spindles: Top whorl, bottom whorl, and supported spindle. I will briefly touch on what each type of spindle is good for and who used it. And then I will teach the basics of making wool into string with a drop spindle. There are a zillion ways to make this work. I'm going to teach the spinning-against-pant method that seems to work best for most beginners. Someone who is good enough to suspend the spindle and draft in the air will be welcome to attend and demonstrate for the class, but this is mainly for people who've never tried spinning before.

To that end, I'm assuming that many people who have never spun before, have not tried it because they don't have the right equipment. I found a way to provide kits for my class that will include solid wooden drop-spindles that are perfectly period AND don't suck, and a bit of nice wool to start for only $3. Considering that most drop spindles are in the neighborhood of $9-$25, I think this is MADE OF WIN. Someone pat me on the back. Then attend my class and save me from myself. I have more enthusiasm and book learnin' than I do physical expertise with a spindle. I may not be able to troubleshoot EVERY beginner mistake...