Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Textiles and Tea, stir fry, Sock and Glove Ministry, Breck

Today's Textiles and Tea featured this weaver

Fourth generation of a family of weavers, based in Oaxaca, Mexico. He works with family members in their home-based weaving and natural dyeing enterprise 

His parents here at work

They create rugs, and are particularly insistent on processes that don't harm the environment, minimal use of electric power, preferring natural to synthetic dyes.

They're now opening a rug showroom, to bring more visibility to their products. They teach basic weaving techniques, too.

He has an engineering degree, and as you see, an eye for color and form. He has also studied the color theories of Josef Albers.

I'm so happy Textiles and Tea has got more into the sources of textile arts, and is showcasing the people whose designs and traditions are often the forerunners of north American weaving.

More humbly, I spun some, more, finished the current gloves

And  more spinning, different spindle because one was full of the current knitting yarn

I'll be using this with, I think, two strands of white cotton.

In other news, stir fry happened, onions, bok choy, scallions, over jasmine rice.

I often forget how stir fry goes so well over rice.

And on the snowdrop front, Breck got back to me, said they don't issue refunds, but here's a voucher in the amount of the purchase, to apply to any other items on their site.  

White Flower Farm issues refunds where necessary, being a reputable place, so I think I'll use this voucher at Breck, then cross them off my list.  Back to White Flower Farm.

And I have to report a landspeed record Freecycle. I put these up this morning about 11am

I checked back around noon, already an excited reply, could they pick up at 1pm? Which they did. Done.  My kind of transaction.

Are you up for a Haggard Hawks puzzle?


Happy evening everyone, I hope your day's been productive, or fun, or peaceful, or any permutation thereof.

Monday, January 30, 2023

Knitspin, catalogs and streaming

First, thank you everyone for being sensitive to my blog post yesterday, and refraining from asking for more information. That's much appreciated. 

When people ask well, what happened, it forces you to relive experiences you'd rather deal with yourself, and move on from. 

And when people say, but you've said such admiring things about your sibs and parents, how come? It's simple: what I've said about their taients is quite true, and separate from their attitudes to me. It's not about me.  It's about their gifts, and they were substantial.

Yesterday was the anniversary of the one brother I really felt close to, who died in WW2, when I was six. When Harry talks about not really believing his mother was dead, but she'd sudden reappear, for years, I did exactly that. 

I was twelve before I realized that "lost at sea" meant dead. I believed Kevin would be found, on a desert island or something. Nobody ever told me he was gone.  My mother would run from the room crying when I asked about him. Everyone else would turn their head and change the subject. Years later one of my sisters claimed they didn't have to tell me because I knew. 

I vowed that when I grew up I wouldn't be that kind of coward. In fact there were quite a few things I decided as I got older, one being I would never exclude anyone, even if I didn't like them, or if they were a bit weird, like me. I couldn't bear to do that, knowing the pain of exclusion in my own family. 

I wasn't a saintly kid, just determined to do better.  No idea how well, or if,  I succeeded, but I did give it a shot.

Moving along, I'm alternately knitting and spinning, and I think I've solved the conundrum of how to spin and knit when I want to do both at once. Just spin enough to knit on with, then spin again.

See that stub of fluff sticking up? That's the end of the spun supply. Need to spin again.

I think I'll continue this idea with the next pair of gloves. I have enough white for two strands then I'll spin some bright color for the third. Done! After that I'll send three pairs off to good hands waiting for them. 

This changing of activity is much better physically than staying with one set of actions, too, an unexpected bonus.

Meanwhile, going in the background, I'm following this stream on that free streaming service I told you about

It's a guilty pleasure, terrible scripts, corny stage business, good actors doing their best with the material. 

But the production values are excellent, high budget sets and locations, marvelous interiors and cars, pretty good costuming. So overall, and since it's not a subscription service, fine.

The pig actors are very good, too, one playing Empress of Blandings, one Pride of Matchingham.  

And it's the season of catalogs, winter clearance and spring new stuff, looks like the old stuff. Models laughing hysterically over something, wonder what.

 I rarely buy from catalogs, well, I rarely buy, period. But I look out for things I might spot at the thriftie or on Freecycle.

I may have to make a thriftie run soon, because my latest Freecycle offering has fallen through twice, the second a lady who hadn't realized where I live, after arranging pickup. 

She wrote saying she's very pregnant and, with two little kids, she'd never be able to make a half hour drive. I saw her point and wished her well with her delivery, the other kind. I really appreciate people who write to explain rather than just fail to show.

Onward, everyone! Let's remember most people can handle a lot if you tell them what's up.  

And thanks again for your gentleness and kindness yesterday. 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Finally a walk, seafood pasta, brownie accolades

Today the cooking was about pasta, penne, to be exact, with a lovely sauce, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, knob of butter, parmigian rind. And onions, shrimp and scallions. Blue cheese sprinkles.

It was soooo good. I do like shrimp with practically anything. I'd skip the cheese next time though, too many competing flavors. But no complaints. And enough for several more meals.  

I managed a complete walk, tired coming home but I made it. No pictures, really quiet day for birds and animals. Very pleased I had enough energy.

Last year this time was a different story

I also found today that this is the total germination of the two beds of memorial snowdrops. Clearly since this lone one is flowering, there's little to no hope of a sudden growth spurt from the dozens of others.

Not acceptable. I've written to Breck to request a refund. Then I'll buy some shrub or plant locally and start again. This happens, nobody's fault, probably frozen in transit with no protection.

Gary came bursting in, this morning, all thrilled with the brownies, which he found when he came home yesterday. I gather he'd eaten one before he got his coat off! When he found out there were two more batches in his future, he was a happy guy.

A convo later with Paul Couchman, the Regency Chef, on Twitter, reminded me that seasalt goes well with chocolate.

So I sprinkled a bit on this afternoon's brownies with a cup of tea, great reminder. Chic!

I checked on my library holds, including this one

It's getting excellent reviews from a range of critics, and I've heard part of the audio, really good speaker. So we'll see.

I'd like to try recipes from Meghan's Together: Our Community Cookbook, but it's backordered everywhere. I think I'd like some of that food, Indian, and Middle Eastern. But I can wait. 

I'm interested in his story,  as a survivor of sibling abuse myself, rather than as a current gossip meme. Please tread softly.

If anyone's seen and cooked from the cookbook, I'd like to hear more.

Happy day everyone! May your energy fit your ambition today. Well, every day, but right now today's the issue.

Photo AC 

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Quilling and brownies

 I haven't talked about paper quilling for ages. I have done it, and taught, it, but long ago, so no samples to show you.

However, here are some masterworks instead

It's not a difficult basic skill -- strips of paper rolled into cylinders and scrolls and glued down. You could probably use a paper shredder to get uniform strips. 

Might be a fun thing for grandchildren to do. I've taught kids as young as six. They need to be able to handle small items, so that's different ages for different kids. But the art of it is endless.

And I did get the brownies made, using a different baking dish, worked better.

The blue and green potholder is one I made on that little loom I showed you recently. The red one is a corner to corner knitted one. The handy testing skewer is really a baked potato nail from the days when you baked them in the oven, long since dedicated to testing cakes.

A supply of brownies went next door, so I expect Gary's pleased. I left a box of them for him when he was out.

And before we leave January which seems to have galloped by, here's a look at a page of Edith Holden's January 1904 entries

I think I still have the very end of that virus, after all this time. I did a bit of free weight work and some stair exercises because I didn't feel like walking. Then just about collapsed into sleep. Woke up sneezing and congested, dangit. 

It seems to abate for a couple of days, normal activity, then bang it's back. Never gets very bad, just not very good either. Good thing I have brownies in the house. End of grousing.

And while I was fussing about sneezing, I discovered a free streaming service has appeared on my tablet. Movies, tv. So maybe that's a good winter matinee idea.

Happy evening everyone, knit on, or grumble on,  whatever you're up for.

I'm still deep in This Golden Fleece, and totally recommend it as a history and a travelogue and a knitting and wool fiber primer. It's huge, about 500 pages, plenty of good research, footnotes, really well done.

Just finished the umpteenth reading of Pym's Crampton Hodnet, one of her funniest books, with great set pieces.  One of my favorites is the scene at the professor's house where there are about five agendas bumping into one another, one per participant plus Miss Morrow's observation.

A lot of wonderful antiphonal dialogue, really a masterpiece of writing, so understated that a lot of early critics didn't even grasp what was going on. Which was funny in itself.

And I've started the Trollope-as-Harvey book. We'll see how it works out. Hard to follow Pym though.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Puzzles old and new, mixed media art, spun knit gloves

Today I got out to the local library, returned the all red all the time puzzle, and borrowed another. Slim pickins, but here's a reasonably good one, though it's flowers again.

I had hoped for a change of subject, but the other choices either I'd done or I'm not up for them. "Primitive" paintings, balls of yarn, shelves of preserves.. no baskets of kittens though, so there's that.

On the way back to the circulation desk to check out, I passed the "take any number and don't bring then back" deaccessioned book table, so this came along.. I quite like Joanne Trollope, haven't read her in this persona though. 

And they had federal tax forms and instructions, which will save me a bit of searching online and printing. I still, dinosaurus boudicus, do a paper return.  

At home I had the second of the tilapia plates, heated with a bit of butter on top, and it worked fine, with some pickled beets.

Then a bit of drawing and painting

Mixed media landscape with tree. 8"x8", butter, beet juice, basil on  Corelle background.

About healthy food, my Misfits box, full of vegetables that make Gary shudder, he only likes cucumbers, reminded me of his doctor's recent advice.

I think she really knows him and his devotion to frozen dinners. So she wants him to improve his diet, and acknowledged he wasn't going to give up his favorites. So she suggested he just add  in green leafy vegetables. Whereupon the only green leafy vegetable he could think of to buy was collard greens from his childhood 

So he got some and boiled them. Then came rushing into my kitchen, boiling pot in hand, greens looking pretty good, and said "What happens now? How do they get out?" 

And I showed him about draining! And how I didn't chuck away beautiful greens water, but he insisted it was mine because he didn't want any part of soup made with it. 

Anyway he went home with his drained greens, came back immediately to leave some with me, way too much for him, once he thought about it.  I never found out whether he did add them to his dinner. Mine went into soup with the greens water.

After the trip to one library this morning on puzzle business,  I wasn't  up for another trip to the other, further away, library to the knitting group. Just didn't feel like talking and being in a group, however nice, and they are.

But I did get to spinning and decided to wind the yarn off the spindle to make it easier to knit.

Resulting in this, first of the pair 

I think I may make a batch of brownies this afternoon,with Gary and his grandchildren in mind, in case they visit this weekend. Speaking of healthy food. . well, mental health maybe.

And on the subject of sweet stuff, the latest word puzzle from Haggard Hawks was


I think quite a few blogistas got this one. 

Happy Remains of the Day, everyone! Celebrate whatever day it is where you are, why not. Your mental health may need brownies, or puzzles, or spinning. Go for it!


Thursday, January 26, 2023

Misfits meets Imperfect

 Today was the first delivery of the new partnership of Misfits with Imperfect Foods, and I'm very happy. I'm hoping this how they go on.

The box arrived mid morning, many hours earlier than FedEx used to deliver, from the food folk's own delivery van 

 Both names on the box

And less insulation, probably because everything being delivered from the vehicle is produce, no need to insulate against other substances in a FedEx van.

Packing, which included cold pack items, was very well done

And the quality is excellent.

So tonight was panfried tilapia with steamed baby carrots, dessert Greek yogurt and blueberries.

I floured the fish with a mixture of flour, turmeric, salt, black pepper and lemon zest, left it all afternoon in the fridge, panfried it this evening. Just a couple of minutes each side.

Very happy with my results of the first week in the new partnership. 

I finished the flower puzzle, which turns out to be made by a flower farm in the pnw. 
I really couldn't have tolerated these reds for more than just the broken up section. 

But it's nice puzzle finished and ready to return.  Red has a seasick-inducing effect on me, a downside of synaesthesia, so I limit my exposure.

I'm still in the midst of This Golden Fleece, and it continues to be a great journey of learning.  In my own fiber world, I ran out of spun yarn last evening so I've been spinning a new supply, to knit off the spindle along with the other two yarns.

Spinning off the spindle involves keeping the spindle away from the other yarns, my afghan, sweater, etc, because it spins happily as the yarn comes off it, the unoccupied hook tangling merrily with whatever's near. I put it in a separate bag and it jumps out.

I may make it back to the knitting group tomorrow, we'll see. I'm wintering -- very willing to stay put, spin, knit, read, cook.  Icy rain and wind have contributed.

Happy evening everyone, stay warm or cool depending on which hemisphere you're reading from! From here it's hard to believe it will get warm again.