Monday, November 22, 2010

Excited yet intimidated

So, I joined The Sketchbook Project, which is unlike anything I've ever done before. I joined at the last minute, midday on the last day of signup, before I could chicken out.

Of course the doubts started piling up the minute I looked at some of the other participants' blogs…like Cody Schibi's "Drawing a Blank".

Besides that, this is especially tricky for me, since I joined so very, very late. I have less than two months to fill a sketchbook. True, it's only a Moleskine Cahiers, so it's smallish compared to my usual Moleskine large plain journal. But still…that's a lot of book!

Since the pages are thinner in a Cahier book, I think I'm going to be gluing together some of the pages for strength, as well as experimenting with gesso as a background. As it happens, I have a spare Cahier at home, so I can try it out on it first. I could rebind it with heavier paper (and not quite as many pages), but I know that will only slow me down! It would probably be a few days before I had time, and between my church Christmas program, my dance troupe's upcoming show, and the general busyness of this time of year, I really don't have the extra time to spare. I'm such a perfectionist that it would take me forever!

So I'm heading straight to journaling. Hopefully I can get started tonight!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Plethora of Apples

My husband and I spent last weekend in the mountains, near Clayton, Georgia. I love the Southern Appalachians, especially in the fall; it was one of the places my family always went when I was growing up. Now, we go with his siblings and his families.

We drove home with a full bushel of gala apples, purchased from Osage Farms, at their roadside "stand." I also had over ten pounds of mixed apples; I bought a few of every type of apple I had not tried before!

Now, this wasn't an impulse purchase. True, we had not planned to buy them when we went to the mountains. However, we were planning to buy a bushel at the State Farmer's Market anyway, so we saved ourselves a trip!

First on my list is slow cooker apple butter. Last year I made a double batch on Halloween weekend. Everyone loved it, and I ran out during the summer, necessitating another batch, so I'm going to be doing either a triple or quadruple batch this year.

But I'll also be indulging in a few wants I didn't get satisfied last year: apple pie filling and cinnamon apples.

I've made up my mind on the pie filling. I'm basing mine on the spiced apple recipe in Well-Preserved: Recipes and Techniques for Putting Up Small Batches of Seasonal Food, by Eugenia Bone, though I think I'll double the recipe. (Seriously, I don't think I can make it through a year with only four pints if I want to increase my dependence on local foods and home cooking!)

For the cinnamon apples, I would love something similar to Cracker Barrel's, but I don't know if it would work. I may try applesauce, or one of the apple jams from Food in Jars.

Anyway, I'm very excited about all the canning possibilities!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Full Speed Ahead

Actually, I'm not sure I know any other speed when it comes to this sort of thing. One of my best friends, Roswenth, and I are vending (in the Artist's Alley, I think) at MomoCon this weekend, raising money for our Relay for Life team (Gwinnett County, Georgia).

Since we haven't done this before, we have no idea how many of these crazy things we should make! I've made sixteen since Friday. Yes, sixteen. That's with a weekly gaming group, a full-time job with a commute, dance class, and cooking. Oh, and a wonderful husband who likes to actually spend time with me.

It's kind of fun. I have a history of crafting while gaming; in fact, I'm sort of famous (infamous?) for it. So three weeks ago I started winding and cutting yarn into the appropriate lengths, at the table, while playing Shadowrun. (That's a cyberpunk-style, pen-and-paper, dice-rolling role-playing game. You know, like the infamous Dungeons and Dragons, except futuristic.)

My gaming group is really great about it, I have to admit. I get teased a bit, but we all do for something or another. (It helps that the game master actually runs Shadowrun at MomoCon, and one of the other party members is actively involved with the con, too.)

But wow; it's been a LOT of work. Picking out the yarns, put them all on the base, a few strands at a time. Wrangling massive quantities of yarn…think about it.

Each pair of falls is made of two sets of two base strips. I did a bit of math, and I bet I've used over two thousand strands of yarn so far. Each strand has been handled multiple times, because I have to keep packing stuff up and taking it back out, and they keep getting tangled.

And I probably have another five hundred strands cut and bundled by yarn. No wonder I'm getting worn out!