Monday, July 26, 2010
But what about those of us whose proclivities shy away from the peelers and peep shows? Fear not! Another red light district has popped up on the other side of the Yarra River in the Melbourne Exhibition Center! And I would wager that most of the women lining up here were being unfaithful. They were having an affair at the fair. You could see it on their faces - guilty pleasure. Women casually passing by a wall of yarn, gentling passing their fingers over the wool. CHEATERS! Fabric displays filled with fat-quarters and women pinching and pulling on the squares. CHEATERS!! Embroidery threads unwound and held up to the light. CHEATERS!!! Women layered 5 rows deep, all on tippy toes, craning their necks to get a better view of the $5 wooden bag handles. CHEATERS!!!! It was one gigantic peep show! And all these women were crafting two-timers.
Liz, our felting madame, introduced us to the colourful silks and generous wools, the soapy warm water and the PVC mats and plastic sheets we would use to bind our felt and roll it. With two flat fingers, Liz showed us how to pluck out the fibers and gently lay them onto the flat felt back ground.
The whole time, we created a spectacle. Ladies passed by and paused for a second look, cautiously nudging a friend and pointing with their eyes, 'Oh, that looks like fun.' As we were agitating fibers, woman after woman pulled out $30, $40, or $50 to share in this unique experience, emboldened by those of us already inside. Felting was FUN!!
My friend might be cheating too.
Look at that smile. Is that the smile of a crafting two-timer? I don't know... She is a knitter. And from the way she looked at anything woollen I would imagine she wasn't cheating. It was kind of pious as a matter of fact, like a deep communion she had with spun wool. I, on the other hand, had a dark temptation that saw me caress a skein of tangerine orange wool unlike any other and imagine all the things I could create with it. No, my friend wasn't a two-timing knitter. Felting is related to knitting because you work with wool.
But I think she may be cheating with silk scarves.
Time wasted to date: 23 hours
Sunday, July 18, 2010
So, I can take my time with this? YIPEE!!! I'm going out for a coffee.
And then the unimaginable happens. Someone who started their PhD only days after I did has handed in her thesis. Oh, the pain! It seems like everywhere I go there is some reminder of them. A facebook photo here. A three year employment contract there. Their face on a dartboard in the corner of my office. Its enough to drive a woman to drink. But what should I down? One of those nice bottles of wine I've been saving for when friends and family visit? Nahhhh. I am going to drink my own home brew. Enter today's adventure: Yeast!
Hubby is a great researcher. He researched the heck out of our new fridge. He researched the heck out of kegging. He researched the heck out of re-cultivating yeast. One day he came home with some cheap Light Dry Malt Extract and mixed a 1/2 cup in with some boiling water, creating a 'mini-wort'. After he chilled it in an ice bath we poured it into our sanitized 2 litre pop bottle. Then in went out yeasty friends.
(Picture downloaded from http://www.bakeinfo.co.nz/school/images/yeast.jpg)
Sadly, not all yeast get to live such fantastic lives. Did you know that some yeast are murdered for their vitamin B content?
Excerpt from wikipedia*:
"Brewer's yeast" (also known as "brewing yeast") can mean any live yeast used in brewing. It can also mean yeast obtained as a by-product of brewing, dried and killed, and used as a dietary supplement for its B vitamin content.
(Picture downloaded from http://www.uv.es/perisnav/images/yeast.jpg)
Australians love vitamin B. And they massacre loads of yeast every year for their icky Vegemite.
Excerpt from wikipedia:
The general method for making yeast extract for food products such as Vegemite and Marmite on a commercial scale is to add salt to a suspension of yeast making the solution hypertonic, which leads to the cells shrivelling up. This triggers autolysis, where the yeast's digestive enzymes break their own proteins down into simpler compounds, a process of self-destruction [emphasis added]. The dying yeast cells are then heated to complete their breakdown, after which the husks (yeast with thick cell walls which would give poor texture) are separated.
That sounds horrible! Can you believe that? Perfectly good yeast is being butchered for Vegemite! How would you like it? Sitting there in your wheelchair, waiting for that hot nurse to walk by so you can get down with some asexual budding and then someone dumps a load of salt on you so that you start oozing vitamins!? Then your husky skin is discarded and what's left of you is spread on some toast!
I know what your thinking. Asexual budding doesn't sound like much fun. Well, the party in my pop bottle begs to differ. If this bottle's rocking, don't come a knocking!
Yeast for beer, not toast.
Time wasted to date: 19 hours.
* I know, wikipedia is not always a reliable source.
* I know, wikipedia is not always a reliable source.
Monday, July 12, 2010
We have several items to make our time
So, I kept building up the logs till the pillow cover was 16" on all sides. There was one problem though. And its my favorite kind of problem. I had run out of fabric! I needed something for the backing. As hubby reclined on the couch playing Bejeweled on his ipod (I HATE BEJEWELED) and Hire-A-Hubby drilled though the floor in the flat next to ours (ON A SATURDAY!!! HUBBY GO HOME!!!) I quietly excused myself so as not to arouse suspicion, jumped in the car, and drove to Spotlight.
I love Carnegie Spotlight a little bit less now then I did before. I blame the ladies at the Guild. They have introduced me to fabrics and designers I never would have known about before - evil doers! And so despite the fact I can't afford those fabrics and designers, I feel a bit snobbish about Spotlight now. That all fades though as I walk past the Quilting Corner. I am thrilled when I find some polka dots that will make great backing for the pillow at a really good price. I love Spotlight again!
The Pillow was a success. In fact, it was too successful. It has now been taken from our office and sequestered in the home of the birthday celebrant. Its a good thing though. A pillow this cute would wink at me and inspire more sewing. Bad Pillow!
Time wasted to date: 17 hours
Sunday, July 4, 2010
I flipped a coin in my head and brewing and hoping it is!
Last night Hubby and I stayed in and brewed a new American style pale ale. Lets say for the sake of my American brethren that it was in celebration of the Fourth of July. It wasn't. But lets just say it was.
Then we add the yummy malted grains in a slow steady stream, stir to get out the beer clumps, and them clamp her up tighter then a bum on a cold bench. Ewwwww!
Brewing in our apartment is an adventure in close quarters. Last night, as Hubby and I danced around each other in the 6'x3' galley style kitchen with a 40 litre Birko in the middle of the floor, I imagined us in a submarine. After burning his foot in a hot water accident some 3 months ago, I have this horrible fear that I might swing a hip with too much vigor and all that glorious steaming hot brew will come swishing out of the Birko and onto the floor. I imagine being at the helm of a nuclear powered submarine is very similar. The sticky heat and steam on the walls, the urgency of a well timed task on your mind and then, boom! You press the wrong button and its all 'Red October'. But no, we kept our cool. No one got burned. I think he and I would make very good submariners.
Time wasted to date: 12 hours