Aug 18, 2013

Ideas and Inspirations

So I thought I was over my "crafting block"... I think I'm just too exhausted recently to do any creative thinking to get me back INTO crafting. Sure, I made a couple of tentacles and a pig, yeah I made myself a purse and a skirt, but these were now several days ago and all I have to show for the past week is about 2-3 inches of a knit hat.

Oh, and why haven't I posted any pictures of these things?

I've come to realize that my camera didn't come with a cord to download pictures onto a computer. However, I had to send it in for repairs because I was taking the memory card out of it in order to upload the pictures. So. I have to find a cord... A lot of cell phone chargers work great, except that all the ones I have don't have USB plug ins for a computer. This camera is proving to be a LOT of trouble!

I've made these cool little Wallet Gloves, that you can keep money in at events when you don't want to carry a bag around. I showed them to people, who then complained that you can't fit an I.D. in the pocket. Well, of course not... You can't fit an I.D. on the top of your hand.

Brown Wallet Glove
My Wallet Glove

Green Wallet Glove
Friends Wallet Glove

However, a friend had the idea that I could make arm bands that wrap around your upper arm, and put pockets on those! Well! Lots of people's arms are big enough for I.D.s! I'm definitely going to work on making up a prototype, but my problem is, arms are so different for so many people. I'll just have to find measurements online and make up a bunch of these... Wallet arm bands? In all sizes. Maybe I'll have a naming competition and send someone a free one.

I'm also thinking that I might as well sell Wallet Gloves in pairs. Everyone wants one for both hands, so why not make it easier to do that? I also need to work on making the pocket itself more FINISHED. All I ever do is cut a straight line, sew some trim to the bottom of it, then sew the top of the line to the back of the glove. So the top starts fraying. However, sewing trim all the way around seems very tedious to me. I think I'll just have to get over it. People want nice things and I'll have to give it to them!

On to the inspiration part of the post. I want to get better at making things. I also want to make useful things. So how do I inspire myself to do better? Looking at other peoples things that are much more professional looking and "finished" than mine. Example. I make clay cthulhus, this woman makes realistic looking faces on her beautiful faeries.

You can find her profile here

Jealous. Example of USEFUL things. I would love to make up furniture that suits specific needs, as I recently read about in a magazine. This woman had a chance to convert a room into her craft room. Since I can't remember what magazine this was I can't try to find the article online, but she knew exactly what she wanted for her sewing table: Lots of storage space. She knew that she would stand at the table, so instead of having a table that she could sit at and have her legs under, she used the entire thing as storage space. The closest I have gotten to making customized furniture is putting blocks of wood underneath the legs of the table I am sitting at now, to make it high enough for my legs to be underneath it comfortably. 

So I have a ways to go, but at least I've got plans for my future crafting abilities to be put to good use. For the longest time I made things that nobody wanted because it was useless. I'm trying to change that! Well, except for the clay things. Those are obviously just decoration, but they're just too fun to give up! 

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Aug 15, 2013

Yeast, interrupted.

So, I went downstairs today and my yeast water is gone. So I guess I'm not going to be able to "experiment" any farther here at my dads house. I was really excited about learning more about my yeast water, and posting it here.

I mentioned before that I considered myself a "prepper", or someone who is sort of preparing for an "apocalypse" or some sort of survival situation. I also mentioned how at the same time I don't really believe there's going to be an apocalypse, but I wanted to share a list of skills I'd like to learn. At the end of this post, I'd also like to share a story a bus driver told me...

First, let me explain why some of these skills would be useful to me: I want a farm. I want cows and chickens, probably goats, and my boyfriend wants sheep. I also want some what of a large garden, growing enough food to provide for the whole year.

  • Shear sheep, and spin wool into yarn. 
  • Butcher my own animals. 
  • How to make all sorts of food from scratch. 
  • Knit and sew USEFUL items, such as scarves, blankets, hats, clothing, etc. 
  • Grind wheat into flour. 
  • How to grow all sorts of food and how to protect it. 
  • Preserve food for winter. 
  • How to care for and breed farm animals. 
  • How to build all sorts of things from wood. 

I'm sure I'll think of more later, I'm sort of sleep deprived today! My bf is studying to be a mechanical engineer, so he will help in that department. He hates working with wood, but I like it.

I still enjoy my crafts that I do now but not all of them will be useful in the long run, such as wood burning. Wood carving, however, is something I'd like to do more often. It seems a hell of a lot more useful, to shape things instead of decorate them.

Anyways... I overheard a bus driver telling some spooky stuff a while ago. It seems much too... obscene to be real. Basically, he says that Obama has authorized the use of guillotines again, in FEMA camps dotted throughout the U.S. This driver said that pretty soon, the U.S. is going to start killing people who aren't useful or adding anything to the community. Apparently, right before this happens, there's going to be no food stocked in stores, I'm assuming because farmers are smart enough to realize to gtfo or something... I don't know. But the driver ALSO said that if you are smart and do stuff with your life, you'll also be killed because you might lead a rebellion. So, we're all going to die here in the U.S... Sometime soon, evidently. I guess the U.S. has also been secretly considered under martial law for quite a few years, too.

What gets me, is how many people the driver managed to freak out. They're asking, what can we do? How can we prepare for this? What on earth do you MEAN? How can you prepare? Move to Canada if you're that freaked out! Because this guy is saying we're all going to be killed and there's nothing you can do. How DO you prepare for that? I guess you could kill yourself before it happens!

Anyways. I've had this story stuck in my head for a while now, and decided to share it. He said a lot of other stuff too, but it's been a few months and I've forgotten all the details. Scary, right? Yeah, if you believe it. I honestly just think this guy was lonely and started making up stories to pass the time. What do you think? 

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Aug 12, 2013

Yeast and other craft stuff.

I used my yeast water to make pretzels, and it worked just fine. For those of you who are interested in the yeast, basically I took 2 big spoonfuls (Like the big silverware ones that you eat with, not measuring spoons) of flour and put that in a jar of water. The jar has oz markings on it, so I filled it to about 20 oz of lukewarm water. I mix the flour in, but it will settle and that's fine, you can leave it like that. Leave it in the kitchen windowsill. If you have cheesecloth, you should cover in with that and use a rubber band to secure it, but I didn't, so I just put the metal lid balanced off kilter so it's sorta covered, but still has air coming in. Remember, yeast is a living organism so it needs air. It will have small bubbles when it's ready to use, although they will go away. It will also smell kinda funny.

I think you're supposed to put it in the fridge, so I think I will try that now, since it's ready to use, but I'm not sure if it's going to kill it or anything. Also, you're supposed to be able to just add more lukewarm water to it when you use up some of the water, but I used so much of the water that I just dumped the rest out and started over again. So, I'll try just adding water to it next time.

My "craft block" is still going strong, although I have managed to make myself a purse and a skirt. Honestly I think I just need to make myself a few items at a time before getting back into the swing of making other people stuff. I'm talking about xmas stuff, but I've downgraded the blankets to probably socks, or hats, or pot holders, or rags... I REALLY do like knit rags but my BF used his as a pot holder and it worked really well, so I think I'll make a few friends some of those, since they will be needing them...

My stepmothers mom just ordered me a knit picks interchangable needle set! I'm really super happy about it because I've been wanting them forever and I will have so many needles now!!! She and I also just listened to a friend rave about their prices and quality, which was one reason I hadn't really thought about asking someone for a set yet, but now I can just hope that it'll be awesome! The only thing is knit picks doesn't offer a 16 inch cord, for hats. The smallest is the 24 inch, which I supposed I could make hats on but it'd be a bit tight. I've measured several heads and I've found that male heads are generally 23 inches in diameter where the edge of the hat will hit, and females are 21 inches. Yes, I've measured peoples heads. I'm not a freak, I was just making them fleece hats.

I made a "down syndrome cow" recently, and people absolutely love his retarded face, so I'm thinking I will do several more of those, to give away, not sell... Keep in mind when I call this cow all kinds of slanderous, mentally disabled names, I'm really giving myself a bad time for how he turned out. I DO have a developmentally disabled brother, so, please don't think I make fun of ACTUAL people with mental or physical issues. Here is a picture of the masterpiece:

Down Syndrome Cow
Down Cow

Isn't he adorable? Can't really see his tail, but it's there. The sad truth of it is, I hate working with white clay because it got so dirty! So, I stopped working on him before I added a snout. I plan on making a down pig, down sheep, and maybe a few others. 

Anyways. Here's to a hopefully more productive week! I've got everything that I need to start making stuff! Although I still do need some other things. I have a bus pass now, so I can go ANYWHERE that the very limited bus system will take me! 

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Aug 6, 2013

"Making" Yeast.

The other day, I was hit by a strong wave of soft pretzel cravings. Well, I've made them before, so I head downstairs to check out the available ingredients. Well, yeast wasn't one of them. We have some, but definitely not enough to make any one thing. This saddens me. However, I've heard about people "making" yeast (It's a living organism, you can't actually MAKE it) with several different techniques.

The first of which was chopping up an apple and soaking that in lukewarm water for a few days in a warm area. I read the reviews on this particular tutorial and found that if you make yeast with fruit, whatever you make with it will taste like the fruit. Well, I don't want my pretzels to taste like apples, OR raisins or grapes or whatever else...

You can also make yeast with vegetables. Same thing as stated above, do not want vegetabley pretzels.

There is also the use of a sourdough start: When you make sourdough batter, take a small piece of the batter and store it in a warm, dark place. It will expand and expand... Then, when you make bread again, you can take a piece of it off and use that in place of yeast. You're also supposed to cut the start in half and give half to a friend, who will then wait until it expands and do the same thing...

So, I found another tutorial... It wasn't a good one since it didn't have good measurements, but, I just put some lukewarm water and a bit of flour in a glass bottle, with a tiny bit of yeast, and set that on the kitchen windowsill for a couple of days. During the day I will set it out in the sun, because it needs to be warm. I was hoping it would yeast itself faster that way, which is why I also added some yeast... It makes it go faster. You can do this with just water and flour. Once it starts bubbling, (I think), it's ready to use!

To use this yeast water, you replace the water in a recipe with the yeast water. I.e. in a recipe for bread, it will tell you to use perhaps a cup of lukewarm water and to stir the yeast into this. Well, that's what you already have... Yeast water!

What my problem is, is the fact that every how to on making yeast is not very clear on when it's ready. When it has bubbles? Well, mine has bubbles alright. But, big bubbles? Small bubbles? Mine has both now, but I don't know if they'll get bigger. Also, I think I'm also supposed to eventually refrigerate the yeast water... but when? So, I'm going to experiment with this, because yeast is expensive; water, flour and an empty pickle jar are not.

Hopefully I will get some answers to share. I recently learned a term that I can apply to myself: I'm somewhat of a "prepper". Preparing for things. More specifically, preparing for the apocalypse. Which is strange, since I don't really allow myself to seriously believe that zombies are going to pop up out of manholes and come running out of the wilderness. At the same time, I feel that it's inevitable that some angry scientist will decide to fuck humanity over, though. If there are highschool shootings...

So, it'd make sense that I'd want to learn how to make yeast. I'm a prepper. This also explains my dream of owning a small farm, with cows, goats, and chickens, and enough of a garden to feed my family and guests.


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