Sunday, September 25, 2016

Learning to knit

I have made a few simple projects.  Lily got a snood for those days when her ears need to be warm. 

So far it has only gotten into the high 60Fs at night with temperatures in the low 90Fs during the day.  She won't need to wear this outside for a little while, but many of the visitors to our house know that with the AC running, she might like it in the house!

Lily was toasty warn and fell asleep.

Done in garter stitch and sewn together.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Ayuda con el presente progresivo

Listen to Gordon and Cynthia explain and help you use the present progressive in Spanish.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Baking, not Beading

Getting ready to put together Russian tea biscuits
My mom came to take care of me in June after I had surgery.  Every time she visits I ask her to bring one time - Russian tea biscuits.  This time I think she brought me some from Lucy's Sweet Surrender, but I will take them from almost anywhere. If you don't know what these are, you probably haven't visited Cleveland, Ohio.  I search a bit and found their origin is a bit foggy and often confused with Russian tea cakes aka Mexican wedding cookies. You can see here and here that while their origin is mysterious, you can find them all over Cleveland and if you discover them elsewhere, ask if the baker is from northeastern Ohio.

We planned to make Russian tea biscuits last month when she was here.  One thing led to another and we never got around to it.  Yesterday I decided it was time.  I hoarded a number of recipes on Pinterest and decided to make this one from "Do you know a good recipe for...?"  I actually planned to make this recipe from Salon because of the discussion of Cleveland and Lax & Mandel bakery, but some wires were crossed when I got working.  My mom brought from Ohio Braswell's red raspberry jam that turns out to have been made in Statesboro, Georgia.  It is perfect for this recipe.

I had a little help from a small, sleepy sous chef.
I made the dough the day before and refrigerated it.  In the morning, I chopped all the nuts and fruits for the filling.  Since this is Georgia, and I didn't want to make a run to the grocery store, I used pecans instead of walnuts.  My pecans came from a local orchard, Clover Pecan Company, and are the Stuart variety.  I bought them in May at the Valdosta Farm Days market and popped them in the freezer (my favorite way to store nuts, dried chiles, and ginger).  My recipe called for raisins and dates/figs.  I prefer sultans or currants, but those aren't to be found in Valdosta except around the winter holidays so I used golden raisins and dates. Remi and I planted a fig tree this spring which has grown a whopping six fruits.  Next year we should have enough that I will use home grown figs.
Rolled pastry getting an egg white wash and sprinkle of sugar.

I had divided the dough into four parts and as I rolled and filled each I learned a little something useful.  Rolling this dough between sheets of plastic wrap makes it much easier to get it to the proper shape and thickness.  I also discovered that after topping the dough with jam, nuts, raisins, and figs that using the wrap to assist rolling the 14 inch long piece helped me to get a tight roll and to place it seam side down.  After spending some more time in the fridge, the dough logs get sliced, brushed with frothy egg white, and topped with sugar.
Ready to go in the oven.
20 minutes later
They are delicious!  I was worried that I would not get that Cleveland deli taste, but they are so good that I took a few to my brand new neighbors.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Adventures in Looming

my first piece of loom work
I bought myself a little Beadzu loom and have woven a few pieces.  The first one, above, is based on a Latvian floral bracelet pattern.  I used 11/0 Toho beads and put in the edging with 15/0s.  I really had no idea what I was doing so I went to YouTube and watched some videos.  I wanted to figure out how to loom with as few warp threads as possible, but I decided I might just try the most basic method first.  I used Nymo to thread the loom, but have since read that if I use Fireline or another thread that is difficult to split, I might be able to pull the warps through the finished piece in sort of a serpentine so that I end up with only two threads to deal with at the end (see video at the end of the post).
you can see my wobbles, but I was happy and they aren't so evident when I'm wearing the cuff
butter soft leather lining
I stitched the piece to a thin piece of leather and found the perfect bead for the closure.

Next, I decided to try weaving with some 15/0s.  Crazy, huh?  Well I decided that looming went so quickly that I might as well use the tiny beads I love so much.  I had seen this pattern in a Bead and Button a few years ago.  It turned out that the crazy part of this attempt wasn't the 15/0s, but the 37 warp threads!
"In Flight" pattern from B&B
Look at all those warp threads!
I'm still looking around for the perfect leather or Ultrasuede to back this piece.  The cream beads are matte finish and the red are Toho inside-color jonquil-hyacinth lined (TR-15-303/c).