Archive for September, 2008

Out of town and return

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

From the Mailbox: three mail art pieces. One very interesting post from Paint Rock River Valley Postal Authority with a puzzle: can one identify what butterfly would emerge from the caterpillar? Two postcards from Cascadia Artispost: Stormy Season (a bit of a tradition) and “Trenes y Vagones.”

Exposure Set: Dublin CornPhotography: I took a suite of photos at different exposures of the Dublin Corn in the Sam and Eulalia Frantz Park. [See this and this.] I don’t know what i think of “proper” exposures. Lately i’ve been stepping down. Christine says they look under exposed, and i get that, but i still like the image a little better. This seems to be a good indicator that it’s time to take a photography class.

I have heard of one answer to my frustration with exposures: playing with HDR. I found a list of software and tried FDRTools Basic. It does an interesting job of attempting to align the images and all of the adjustments, mappings, etc. I’ll give it a go sometime i’ve taken the bracketed images with a bit more precision. I tried to keep things aligned, but, oh my, what a little twist can do to making alignment impossible. I *could* use the rubber sheeting algorithms in a GIS package to align the exposures, but i’m not sure that’s a good use of time.

New tools: Mom gave me new crochet hooks from Twin Birch Products of Pittsboro, NC. I look forward to giving them a try. So far i’ve just worked with aluminum and steel hooks.

Beading: Just as i was leaving NC, i noticed the bead store close to my sister Laura’s place. She, i and W stopped there on the way to the airport so i could pick up some beads for Christine. I chose three focal beads of laminated leaves and two wooden beads for earrings. When i got back to town i had to run some errands in downtown Mountain View. I didn’t have any excuse to get more beads for Christine, but i had a string of sodalite chips and a cabochon that did not have any other beads to keep them company. So, i now have more beads, but i don’t quite feel up to the wire wrapping challenge. I don’t quite have a vision for the blue necklace, either.

Necklace for Christine: BeforeNecklace for ChristineCabochon accentsSodalite blue

In the oven: I left town for ten days before finishing my first batch of bread dough. I made a fine looking loaf when i returned, but it did seem to have gone off. I hope to make a second batch this weekend.

Artistamps recommendations: There was a long discussion about perforation practices. I am more tempted now to send sheets of stamps off to be perforated, but my general practice of cutting them out continues to satisfy me.

  • Pounce Wheels followed by use of an awl (without the awl, it seems the perforations would be slotted. I’ve a perforating wheel for my paper cutter that can do this.
  • The Olathe Poste offers pre-perfed gummed papers as well as custom perfing jobs. (1″ x 1.5″ – portrait or landscaped orientation) on 8.5″ x 11″ (or A4) papers in standard weights is $0.75 per sheet.)
  • There was some discussion about antique Rosback perforators. “The pins on a Rosback are about 1/16″ diameter. They are spaced about 14 or 16 to the inch.”

A general roundup on the topic is available at It does seem that a rotary punch could be developed for one sheet at a time. I’ll leave that for another life time, though.

This post is now plenty long: bread-baking, gardening, and crocheted toys to come.

September Crochet Bouquet: Mumsy Crochet Along!

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Mumsey: September Flower from Crochet Bouquet

I’ve made my attempt at the Mumsey flower, only getting the first center part done before running out of the yarn.

The yarn was from a crewel-work stash — and cruelly short. Eventually i gave up on carefully attaching new lengths and i just tied on new strands. Good practice for the petals, but not very attractive in the end.

Looking at the calendar, i think i’ll wait and give the October flower (or leaves!) a go, and wait to use this technique when i’ve got an end use for it. Learning the petal stitches, though, was good practice for free form work!

My first mumsyMy first mumsy

Bead purchase notes

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Necklace for ChristineCabochon accentsSodalite blue

Zodiac Antiques and Collectibles, 325 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay, CA 2005-11-18
Two cabochons $5: Christine’s taking her tiger eye cab as a worry stone, the other pictured above.

Rare Earth Beads, 2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 2008-09-23
total of $10.14 for the focal beads for Christine’s necklace and two wooden oval beads for earrings

Global Beads Trading Company 2008-09-24
total of $21.54 and blue glass strand $11

Garden & Bread Check-in

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

I updated my notes on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day with photos from the first mix and rise today. Still need to bake the pizza stone; not interested on doing it on a warm day like today. Tomorrow is forecast to be ten degrees cooler. (Yay!)

I did stop to take some photos in the garden. I’d planted some chard and spinach on the 23th of August (or there’bouts): the squirrels dug it up. The Meyer lemon is blooming beautifully. It’s definitely been tomato ripening weather. I’m afraid i let the squirrels get too many of those fruit, too.

Today's Garden Notes

While i’m updating, i should also note that months ago, when i was fiddling with printing, i asked the Artistamp folks about acrylics through the mail — too sticky? adhere to other mail pieces? Jenny Groat and Mike (“mikesrgreen”) recommended clear bags from

Crochet Bouquet Notes

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

Mom's BDay washcloth

I bought this and another book (Beyond the Square: Crochet Motifs) on a whim, with the recognition that crochet is sometimes about play for me, and i wanted a little more play. The washcloth for my mom was essentially play, and leads me to believe i can “wing it,” but i think i still need more lessons in how to assemble the stitches. These two books looked like they would help me fill in with Kooler’s Encyclopedia.

First Flower from Crochet Bouquet

My first assemblage is from the delicate pom-pom center, four petal arches, and four trillium leaves.
The trillium leaves were a bit of a challenge, and i ended up having to make my own chart. But, now that i have many symbols in NoeOffice’s Draw, i can do this for the troubling yolk in Everyday Crochet and so on.

References for the book:

Adventures in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Here’s a to-do list for starting this project

A. Collect tools & ingredients:
[✓] M get pizza stone
[✓]] M get ingredients (safeway brand flour, cornmeal; Fleishman’s breadmachine yeast)
* granulated yeast (at least 2 packets for first try; jar would be good)
* all purpose unbleached white flower
* cornmeal
✓ have coarse salt
[✓]] identify something that can act like a pizza peel – the small cookie sheet with the bent corners will work, esp if used bent corners down..
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day[!!] identify dough storage device
>>> 5 qt spec, but we’ll do half recipes so 2.5 qts
>>> *NOTE* have two 2 qt tupperware that could work well after first mix — 2008-09-06: well, maybe.
>>> bottom shelf clearance req h <= 6.5"

[✓] M season pizza stone by baking at one hour at highest temperature
>>> requires cool evening, cool day
>>> could be done during steps B, C, D

B. Mix and let rise 2 hours
* water, yeast, flour, salt
* container
* wooden spoon

2008-09-06: approximated 3/4 tbsp as 2 1/4 teaspoons — ha! not an approximation!

Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

C. Refrigerate at least 3 hours

D. Shape, rest 20-40 min[1], & bake
* dusting flour, cornmeal [3]
* dough in container
* knife to cut free dough, slash top[2]
* “peel”
* stone (in preheating oven)
* cake pan (in preheating oven) Revolving tray holds 1 cup of water.
* 1 c water for cake pan

[1] 1 lb boule 40 min; 1 lb baguette or 2 1/2 lb baguettes 20 min;
[2] no slash on ciabatta
[3] ciabatta has no dusting flour, book specifies sliding flour instead of cornmeal. See below!

Step D questions/experiments:My tiny oven, let me show you it
* We don’t want to bake a pound at a time, maybe a half pound. I think this means 20 min rising no matter what shape, but see below
* It would be delightful to make roll size. Recipe on pp 108-9 divides the 1 lb into six rolls, rests 40 min if refrigerated, 20 if fresh.
* Convection oven, tiny oven — how will that affect the times and temperatures? 2008-09-07: Do NOT use the yeast bread setting (which is at 400 degrees). Takes an extra 10-15 minutes, at least.
* Our grocery’s “ciabattas” have cornmeal on the bottom. Neener.

Step D PLAN to make buns like we like from the grocery:
* half a grapefruit size ball of dough removed with wet hands
* gluten shield maneuver
* quarter dough , shape into squared buns no thinner than 3/4 of an inch
* place on corn meal “peel”
* preheat to 425 (adjusting down because convection oven)
* bake 15-20 min