July 21, 2014

I finished my first screenplay--well, finished it enough to send it off to someone who knows enough to tell me what to edit first. 

I bought two dress patterns in celebration. (MonetaCoco.)

Laura and I are currently having a little sew-along; both of us are making Emery dresses. As of two weeks ago I have thrown myself on to the dressmaking bandwagon with no hesitation or decorum. 

 I got a new shirt.

I got a new shirt.

I filled out my tuition grant application. 

I trimmed Simpkin's claws. 

I thought about fitness goals and ate with a mind to "making my macros". This fervent intuitive eater is test-running a switch to calculated nutrition. What can I say? Intuitive eating saved my sanity and helped me gain a healthy attitude toward food. Now I want to know that I'm eating in a way that supports the development of a stronger, abler--and yes, more attractive--body. I just want my abs to show up. Today this quest involved a smoothie made with 60 grams of whey powder . . . 

 oregano flowers

oregano flowers

Thinking about fitness made me think about Allison. I suddenly wondered if I'd ever heard her sing. I looked her up on youtube, and promptly had a cry to this song.

I wrote a thank-you note.

I squished all visible worms on my cabbages. I transplanted about 20 chamomile plants from the driveway to the backyard.

I was envious of Glynis's morning project. So quotidian, specific, pertinent, consistent. It's extremely refreshing.

Tim and I are about to watch the last episode of the new Cosmos series. I'm going to try to knit the last couple inches of the second sleeve for this sweater.

 coffee mirror

coffee mirror

 

Good night kids!

dovetails


A few weeks ago, Tim held a tiny dovetails class for me and my friend Teng.


After two hours, the three of us had cooperatively produced this corner.



By now I have justified adding woodworking to my list of skills-to-practice. I want to make a box.

Observe the Japanese saw I bought six years ago--the green one--and have used for the first time this summer. 

introvert holiday

bananas, with spots and cupboard doors

yarn from Stokurinn in Reykjavik

breakfast--with unseen, just-planted sprouted garlic 

a sweater torso

breakfast again

sprouted ginger root
bedside
this will be a lopapeysa

pears, avocado pears (as S. P. would say)

sourdough rye bread

spring spit bubble


to make 100% sourdough rye bread
(adapted after trials and tribulation from Bread Matters by Andrew Whitley)

- in a large bowl, mix together:

125 grams rye sourdough starter (at a 2:1 ratio of water to flour)
150 grams dark rye flour
300 grams warm water

- let sit, covered, in a warm spot for 12-16 hours

- remove 125 grams of mixture and return to fridge (your starter for the next batch)

- add to the remaining sponge:

350 grams dark rye flour
10 grams salt 
200 grams warm water
caraway seeds (optional)

- mix with a wooden spoon or spatula--dough will be extremely wet and sloppy (not knead-able)

- scrape into buttered 9x5 loaf pan, sprinkle with 

more caraway seeds

- let rise, covered loosely, until risen to top of pan (2-8 hours)--to avoid cloth or plastic wrap sticking to the top of your loaf, you can slide the whole pan into a large ziploc bag

- preheat oven to 450 or 500 degrees F

- put risen dough in the oven, reduce temperature to 400 degrees F

- bake until inserted fork or thermometer comes out clean (between 30 and 60 minutes)--if crust isn't burnt, err on the side of a longer baking time

- remove loaf from pan and leave in open air (to cool and lose excess moisture) for at least 12 hours 



The bread adventure continues. This is the recipe I came up with after wasting around 10 pounds of rye flour on bread that wouldn't rise. The most major changes I made to Whitley's recipe were to increase the amounts of both starter and salt. If you have a trustworthy, vigorous starter, you may be able to use significantly less (Whitley suggests only 50 grams). In my opinion, this bread needs at least 10 grams of salt. 

And if you're slightly daft (as I am) when it comes to sourdough, make sure you are using (and refreshing) all of the starter in your jar every time you make bread. One of my main problems in the beginning was that my starter's acidity balance had been thrown out of whack by the extra starter that never made it out of my jar. 



nerd



Tim and I have become obsessed with the first two seasons of the BBC's Sherlock. When I found a fair isle chart on Ravelry for the motif from Benedict Cumberbatch's wallpaper, I remembered that Tim wanted a sock for his tablet, and cast on immediately.

(Raveled here.)

The Jam Jars of 2013



A few images of domestic bliss which convey nothing about this horrible week. The things we get up to when in the throes of a small crisis, hey? I suspect that these jam jars mark the sputtering end of an era. Change is afoot. Would you like to share something bittersweet? I'd love to giveaway a jar of rhubarb jam. Comment on this post, and I'll draw a winner randomly on Monday night. 
                                                     
                                                                                                                                    xx Lizzie

Resolutions in April and May (The Dress)


- learn to make my own happiness (because it is not Tim's job, and because circumstances will not always be peachy)
Can I just say that facing this issue head-on is difficult and painful and frustrating and frightening?

- complete one wearable sewn garment (hello brown paisley dress)
Done. Rousing success. Observe:

Please note that this is almost certainly the first you have ever seen of my legs. It's that summer, people.




- master fair isle knitting (in order to make things such as this)
Hazelhurst is almost done. 

- remove makeup every night (this has never, ever been a habit--now that flossing is down, it's time)

- reach goal weight once and for all (140 pounds)

- pay back money owed Tim (so very close)

- pay off student loan (not so close)

- repair book cubes (damaged in the move last spring)
They are patched. Painting has begun. 

- further improve backyard (especially firepit, but also hope for fruit trees, removal of gravel, chopping of hoary huge evergreen)
Tim built two more raised beds. We planted blueberry bushes. The firepit should be usable within the month. 

- write something (anything) every day (this should be at the top of the list)

- learn more about math and computing (calculus, number theory, Python)

- publish in at least one magazine (which means submitting)

- give excellent presents (better than last year)

- apply for at least one "real" job (something outside the service industry, something challenging, something that utilizes my skills)

- properly repair bathroom ceiling and baseboards (and begin to learn about renovating a house)

- play the violin again (Vivaldi's "Winter")

- learn more about baking bread (to begin: read the lovely book Laura got me for Christmas)
I have a new rye starter and should get back to the recipes.

- get a tattoo (at last at last)

- put more of myself into relationships (especially that relationship with one Tim Put)

- use my nice things (and remember that I have many)
Bicycle. Hand pruners. 

- make and repair more, and buy better and less (I need a darning egg)
Candle holder. Chest of drawers. Book cubes. Lamp shade.

resolute: repair

- make and repair more, and buy better and less (I need a darning egg)

When my mum and dad were first married, my dad broke a candle holder of my mum's and felt awful about it. Before Christmas that year, he carefully dissolved the substrate from the gemstones that had studded the holder, then re-set them in white plaster, using a glass jar as a base. He was always going down to the basement laundry room late at night and coming back up to my parents' apartment with stained hands. My mum thought her new husband had a burgeoning drug habit. 

The re-made candle holder sits on the piano for the entire month of December, every Christmas. Ros and I loved it. The Christmas I was 10 or 11, my dad made holders for the two of us. Ros's had mostly red gemstones and a few blue; mine had mostly blue gemstones and a few red. Until I moved out, we only lit them up on Christmas Eve and Christmas night--we were allowed to go to sleep with tealights lit in our bedroom and spots of colour projected on the wall. In my own apartments, my candle holder has always sat on the windowsill. I've probably posted half a dozen pictures of it. Two years ago, a cheap tealight (I think it was from Superstore--Ikea tealights are superior) leaked out of its aluminum casing and cracked the jar. One year ago, at Home Depot buying things for the new house, I bought a carton of plaster of Paris and decided I would do with my own candle holder what my dad had done with my mum's. Over Reading Week this past February, I finally started the repair. I'm pleased to say it's finished now. 


broken
baking to soften the old plaster
chipping out the gemstones

clean
trying to place the gemstones with double-sided tape (I had to use school glue in the end)

placed

first layer of plaster 
more plaster, plus verathane = finished
a bit knobblier than the original

knitting things + more of the famous windowsill + new plant


The grey? is a sock. One of Hermione's Everyday Socks, actually.
The Ikea yarn has by now become three inches of legit fair isle. I'll show you tomorrow. 
Sometimes I feel apologetic about unintellectual knitting. 
But this is silly.

Notice the new and tiny tropical plant,
and the gemstones. They're on their way to becoming something else.

Today I'm making toasted-almond-allspice-and-marzipan biscotti for Easter.
I'm also writing my second of four final, final papers.
I'm trying to eat only food that tastes good, and I actually want
--less than I thought. To quote Geneen Roth,
"No one's hunger is bottomless".
I'm wearing pants for the second time in eight months.
They're army green; they sit low on my hips and cinch at my ankles.
After the last snowfall, it's gotten warm and the whole city is a lake.
I am wild to ride my bike again.
I'm bracing for the mountain of good work there will be to do once the snow is gone.
Last week I bought this from this talented woman.
I've received two letters as well. Plume and Glynis--thanks thanks thanks.
Heath emailed back. Plans are developing and I have a pile of money to secret away.
I am tired. But the daylight is growing.
I fully intend to wear shorts this summer.

And how are you? I would love to hear your day's news.

Resolutions in February


- learn to make my own happiness (because it is not Tim's job, and because circumstances will not always be peachy)
It was paying to get my hair cut. Painting my toenails. Walking in the cemetery. Making a good effort at work. Spending time with friends, in spite of that fear that I am socially awkward. Drinking beer while making supper. Singing--which I hadn't really done since moving in with Tim. 




- complete one wearable sewn garment (hello brown paisley dress)
I actually have all the cutting and marking done. 

- master fair isle knitting (in order to make things such as this)
This is for March.

- remove makeup every night (this has never, ever been a habit--now that flossing is down, it's time)
Something of a fail. Must get back to this simple thing.

- reach goal weight once and for all (140 pounds)
Indulge me while I digress for a moment. The more I think about this, the more I realize that what I want for my body is a hell of a lot more than a smaller number on the scale. I want to be really strong. I want to be able to run when I feel like it. I want to take a bike trip this summer. I want to feel good after eating. 

I am becoming attracted to the idea of more serious lifting. Since Christmas, with a lapse in the middle of February, I've been doing both strength training and short bouts of cardio. I feel amazing after lifting free weights, holding a long plank, actually feeling my chest touch the ground during a push-up. I adore my biceps. Today I squatted for the first time, holding one of the dumbbells Tim uses on his arms. 8 hours later, my whole body hurts in a very, very good way. 

- pay back money owed Tim (so very close)
Closer. Almost.

- pay off student loan (not so close)

- repair book cubes (damaged in the move last spring)

- further improve backyard (especially firepit, but also hope for fruit trees, removal of gravel, chopping of hoary huge evergreen)

- write something (anything) every day (this should be at the top of the list)
Like washing my face: so easy, so hard. I must, I must. And notes for poems too. 

- learn more about math and computing (calculus, number theory, Python)

- publish in at least one magazine (which means submitting)

- give excellent presents (better than last year)
My friend Amelia got married. I bought her this book. If that isn't a good present, I don't know what is. 

- apply for at least one "real" job (something outside the service industry, something challenging, something that utilizes my skills)

- properly repair bathroom ceiling and baseboards (and begin to learn about renovating a house)
I watched Tim repair a window frame, and watched Tim's Dad rip up three layers of lino and lay down tile. I have a lot to learn.

- play the violin again (Vivaldi's "Winter")

- learn more about baking bread (to begin: read the lovely book Laura got me for Christmas)
As you know, this is going well. I'm through the first chapter on basic doughs. I've started the sourdough chapter. 

- get a tattoo (at last at last)

- put more of myself into relationships (especially that relationship with one Tim Put)
It was continuing to talk. Trying very hard to nip passive aggression in the bud. Not spoiling Tim's birthday with impossible expectations, but leaving a miniature cherry pie at Transcend for him to find when he opened the cafe. Making friend dates.

- use my nice things (and remember that I have many)
It was yarn that had been "stashed" for a while, turned into a cowl and a sweater. Hoarded coconut milk turned into rice pudding, and saved butterscotch chips turned into cookies. A tiny handsewn notebook filled with grocery lists. A perfume bottle emptied. 




- make and repair more, and buy better and less (I need a darning egg)
Tim's sweater is done, after trials and tribulations. I'm in the middle of a mildly overwhelming repair/restoration that I hope to blog about this week. As mentioned, I repaired my rubber boots. 





starting and finishing

After I had to rip back the entire yoke on Tim's sweater (those blasted shoulders!), I wanted to knit something less heartbreaking. And so: the cotton candy running cowl.

Reading Week, so far. I am trying to do everything I ever put on hold in order to finish a paper or go to bed on time. The bread experiment progresses splendidly, and I am working on the brown paisley dress. Tim and I have been on a walk. I'm trying to root four little aloe vera cuttings; upstairs, my father-in-law is starting to paint the walls dove grey and lay porcelain tile. On Monday, mending a tear, we managed to superglue my fingertips to my yellow Tretorns. I walked to work in full light this morning.

Fourth recipe in Bread Matters--baps. 


resolute: baking bread

- learn more about baking bread (to begin: read the lovely book Laura got me for Christmas)

120 pages into this book, the recipe section commences. Having read every one of the warnings against industrial bread (some of which I found reasonable, some slightly hysterical), nodded along with the author's defense of the pleasures and advantages of baking bread at home, and closely attended to the sections on bowl material, types of flour, water temperature, and kneading techniques, I felt the only thing to do was to start with the first recipe. 

So I did. "Basic Bread" came out of the oven yesterday, and I have a page of notes on it, and a small knob of dough sitting in the fridge, waiting to be incorporated into the next recipe, for "Old Dough Bread".  I aim to pull a Julie Powell, and, by the end of the year, bake every recipe in the book. (Thereby, I will translate a vague, qualitative resolution into an accomplishable, concrete sort of resolution.) Tim likes this plan a lot.  

At the same time, experiments on my own with the already-established sourdough:


Also: do you see that sun?

There is nothing like pausing every couple of hours to dissolve yeast in warm water, measure flour, punch down a cushion of dough, preheat the oven, pat and shape the loaves, check on their proofing, peek into the oven. (I don't want instant food--I want to coax glue to turn into bread.)

Happy Monday you all! 

Adventures in Darning


before

after

I want to be someone who knows how to fix things as well as make things. Repair has been at the top of my mind for several months now. When a faulty knot (I know, I know) in the sole of one of my striped socks gave way, leaving me with a small hole, I decided it was a good time to follow tomofholland's advice and Darn It!

For my first darn, I think it's not bad. Of course, there's lots of room for improvement. This method of darning, mostly suitable for small holes, is called a Swiss darn (or duplicate stitch), and, theoretically, it can be almost invisible.

I'm also in the process of (more creatively and obviously) repairing a nasty gash in a black cardigan of mine. Perhaps pictures within the next few days. Have a lovely Sunday!