[weaving] Resurrecting an ancient project

This project has been on the loom for years.

After a ridiculously long hiatus, I'm finally going to get this off the loom. Hemstitching the ends and tying knots for fringe.

And I'm finally going to finish it. Nothing motivates me like trying to scramble together entries for the fair.


[cooking] Kimchi

Made my first ever batch of kimchi:

Homemade #kimchi. Napa cabbage from my CSA. Hot pepper mix from my mom. She's cagey about sharing the secret recipe. #butimyourdaughter #doesntmatter

I received one head of napa cabbage from my CSA. I asked my mom for her kimchi recipe. She was cagey about giving details. I was like, "So the red pepper paste that I mix in- it's red peppers... and garlic..." The phone is silent. "... Ginger?" "Yes. Some ginger." "And... ?" "Uh, I'll just mix some up and you come pick it up." Sigh. Someday I'll get the list of ingredients.

I cut up the napa cabbage. Let it soak in salt water for an entire day. Rinsed the leaves. Mixed it all up and packed it into a couple plastic containers. I don't know when I'll get around to eating it, so I put it into the fridge (rather than letting it cure on the countertop for a couple days to speed up the fermentation).

Now that I think about, I've got to try a bite tonight- so see if it taste exactly like the kimchi I'm most familiar with.


[misc] Penny loves Murderface

Murderface and Penny at the foot of the bed Saturday night:

Penny & MF in bed

Penny loves Murderface so much. They don't ever cuddle or do any kind of mutual grooming, though. She tries to rub against him when it's dinnertime but he runs away.

Penny & MF in bed

Every now and then he will lick her head during treat-time and give her a silly hairdo. But that's it. Otherwise, she's constantly pining for him.

Penny looking at MF
I love you, Murderface. Why don't you love meeeeee?

Murderface is Bachelor4Lyfe. 


[crochet] Pineapple Song Progress

Only 8 rounds away from finishing:

8 more rounds to go... But it will be 8000 more hours, I'm sure.

Too bad notes I've read on Ravelry say that the last rounds take 2+ hours to complete, each. At this point, each round is taking about 45 minutes to complete.

So far I've only made three mistakes that I've noticed. I fudged it the best I could and just kept on going. I only notice the error when I come to it on the following round and there's no way I'm ripping out an entire round to go back and fix something minor (something that I think only I will be able to notice). That's the thing about crochet- since you're only working with one live stitch at a time, you can't easily undo your work, fix and pick the stitches back up as with knitting.

Will be able to finish the doily this weekend and hopefully block it.


[cooking] Carrots Carrots Carrots!

I pick up so many CSA vegetables every week. Potatoes, melons, cucumbers, squash, chard, kale, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, eggplant, kohlrabi, napa cabbage, fennel, green beans and carrots just this week. We have a small share and it's a challenge to use up every single thing. Rocky, the rabbit, does his part helping with the greens but the rest is on me to prepare.

My current dilemma is all the carrots. My usual preparation is either buttery glazed carrots, pan roasted on the stovetop or roasted in the oven with potatoes or other root vegetables. I've been daydreaming about carrot cake but opted for muffins instead:

Carrot muffins to use up some of the piles of carrots.

Just the basic muffin recipe from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Companion- the carrot/ginger/raisin variant. I had no crystalized ginger on hand so I just used a tablespoon of ground ginger. They came out nice- if a little dense.

Now to figure out what to do with the rest of the carrots!


[crafts] Bottlecap tray

I've made a few bottlecap trays in the past. They're pretty easy to make. I will buy any tray I see somewhere that is deep enough to be a future bottlecap tray. I had a nice black tray and sat down with my bags and bags of bottlecaps (organized by color) to put down a design. After several failed attempts I ended up with:

New bottle cap tray in the works. 108 unique caps. Took way way waaaaaaay too long to get a design I liked. Time to glue them down and stop fiddling with it.

It's 9 x 12 = 108 unique caps. No repeats. I don't know if I should be impressed or worried for our livers. My excuse is that we have been collecting caps for years and try new things all the time.

I fiddled with the placement of a few caps within the columns but this was the overall color change- red orange yellow gold white green blue black.

The finished tray:

Bottlecap Tray

The steps are simple: use a hot glue gun to glue down all the caps. Mix up some grout and press it between all the caps. Use a damp cloth to wipe clean the surface of the caps and make them shiny again. When the grout is dry, mix epoxy resin and pour it over everything. Blow on the surface of the resin to pop bubbles and use a toothpick to pick up errant bits of fur that have settled on the surface. Leave in a shut room overnight. 

Cap/grout close-up

Each tray is a learning experience for me and this time I learned not to scrub the caps so much. This was the largest tray I've done and I didn't have enough grout to do the entire thing at once. I put down what grout I had and using paper towels, I cleaned around each cap. Cleaning, rubbing, essentially exfoliated each cap without realizing that I was scrubbing away the design. I bought more grout and did it all again. I stepped back and wondered why the colors didn't look so vibrant; then I noticed that I was scrubbing it all off! You can see around many of the caps in the close-up picture that the design has been rubbed off around the edge. It's not so bad- it gives it more of a... distressed or antique look but NEXT time I'll make sure I have enough grout and do this step without scrub, scrub, scrubbing away a little of each cap's color.

I love showing this tray to people because they're eyes dart around- reading each cap, recognizing some, wondering what others are. It's a pretty fun functional piece of art. We're keeping this one!


[gardening] The 11th Flower Bed

The lower lawn next to the brook was pretty marshy and soggy to mow. My cousin came and added better drainage. He made it nice and flat and landscaped with boulders from our rock pile (big pieces of bedrock blasted apart for the house's foundation).

Looking down from the direction of the house:

New bench and flower bed

A bench was made next to the crab apple tree, which will provide nice shade in the afternoon. The flat stone was a foundation stone from the old farmhouse.

Walking around to the other side, looking back toward the house:

That rock wall is going to be a new woodchuck apartment complex, I know it.

All the brown has been seeded and hayed since the picture was taken and will be nice new lawn.

Looking a little more to the left:

New rock wall around flower bed

There used to be two tall evergreens on either side of that young maple tree. Neither were particularly healthy. They were cut down and now this area is much sunnier and there is plenty of room for the maple tree to grow.

You can see vegetation between and lichen growing on some of the rocks- that's an old rock wall that was already there. It was exposed a bit more and incorporated it as one side of this new raised bed.

I love it. I love it. I love it. It's big and I didn't have to dig up and haul away wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow of sod like every other flower bed I've made around the house. All I have to do is plant things. Ideally the plants will have to be deer resistant (there are already tons of deer tracks all over the dirt) and woodchuck resistant (this new rock wall is primo apartments for the little bastards to move in to).

I'll move and divide up things starting in a couple weeks. I want to wait for some rain to settle the soil and then wait until rain is forecast because the hose won't run all the way down here and there's no way I'm hauling a watering can from the outside faucet on the house. If the brook was deeper it would be a good option but it's pretty shallow at the moment.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface on his crinkly bag:


I bought a few new toys for the cats, including this brown, compressed-catnip mouse below:


The cats aren't crazy for it. They like it but aren't OMG-I-LOVE-THIS-THING.

We were planning on seeing a big fireworks show Saturday night. It's supposed to take place "rain or shine" so we drove down to Keene, NH through severe downpours. If it was still pouring when we got there, were would just sit in the car for the display. Well... we got there and it was still pouring. There was a sign hanging on the gate that said the show was postponed until the next day. They sent out an email literally two minutes after we left the house saying that they show was postponed. We wouldn't be able to make it on Sunday, so I emailed asking for a refund.

We stopped at a BBQ joint on the way home for some awesome smoked wings and ribs- so the evening wasn't a complete loss.


[misc] Penny Friday

Penny, getting grumpy with me after I keep interrupting her bath for pictures:

I keep interrupting Penny's bath time for pictures. She's starting to get annoyed.


[crochet] Pineapple Song

Just started a doily:

Haven't made any doilies from this book. Starting with the last one, the most difficult. #yolo

The cotton thread is Knit Picks Curio. I haven't made any patterns from this book but I flipped to the last one- the largest and most difficult. I'm hoping to have it done in time to submit to the fair. It's slow going but fairly straight forward. I haven't encountered any stitches that I haven't done before.


[vermont] Misty Morning

Saturday morning, looking into the back yard:

Misty morning ⛅️ There were three deer in the backyard who didn't realize it was Saturday and I would be home.

There were a few deer milling around, surprised to see me home. They're busy eating up all the apples on the trees. They're so big and fat now- they must have had a good summer. I remember seeing them first thing this spring after such a brutal winter- they were skin and bones.


[misc] Murderface Monday

Murderface, chillin' in one of his favorite spots- Dollar's legs.


Saturday night Dollar was away in CT for a gig. I was exited to have the house to myself- which never happens. I made myself naengmyeon- a cold Korean noodle soup. I had a package from H-mart: dried buckwheat noodles and liquid pouches of beef broth. I boiled an egg and made a quick cucumber pickle. I put it all together and had it for supper.

I didn't think to check the pouch of beef broth for MSG. It must have had a ton of MSG in it because 30 minutes after eating, I had the worst migraine. Just an immense amount of pain behind by right brow bone. This has happened to me a couple times in the past- from takeout Chinese food. I'm usually careful about making sure any Asian products that I buy are MSG-free. I'm sure I have a small amount unknowingly here and there but, ugh, when I have too much- paaaaain. I had to go to bed at 7:30 pm. So much for my awesome night at home alone but I didn't even care. I just wanted to fall into unconsciousness. I was fine the next day but the whole ordeal was just a reminder to check ingredients in pre-made products more carefully.


[misc] Penny Friday

A couple nights ago:

I'm not going to look. It's probably a spider. A 12", two-pound spider. I'm just going to turn out the light, go to sleep and when I wake up, it will be gone. ... That actually freaks me out more.

It's a spider. I know she's looking at a spider. They love to hang out where the wall meets the ceiling, above the bedroom door. I've already killed two spiders in a week there.

Integration with Rocky in the house is going well. Apart from a flea issue. He brought fleas with him. I noticed everyone in the house was scratching and I saw a couple fleas here and there. Everyone got Advantage flea treatment. Everything in the house was vacuumed and all the bedding washed. There's nothing nicer than falling asleep on nice, clean sheets that are still warm from the dryer:

#bedhog ... At least she's not taking up my side of the bed. ����

I think the cats are flea-free but I still see Rocky scratching. Will have to monitor.


[cooking] Blueberry Crumb Bars

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen.

My blueberry bushes in the back yard are starting to produce a few blueberries. Before I pick them, I want to get rid of all the blueberries that I still have in the freezer from last year. This recipe was a good way to use an entire quart (I tossed them with more cornstarch than the recipe states because the berries were frozen).

My new favorite- blueberry crumb bars. Recipe from @smittenkitchen. ��

Very easy recipe. I cut them into squares and prefer to eat them cold, from the refrigerator (rather than at room temperature) because they hold their shape better.


[cooking] Tomato Salad

Received red and orange tomatoes in my CSA this week. Checked my garden and I had one green zebra tomato ready pick. Sliced them up and added a balsamic glaze drizzle:

Red and orange tomatoes from the CSA, green zebra tomato from my garden! #tomayto #tomahto #letscallthewholethingsalad

So tasty but next time I'll add some slices of buffalo mozzarella. 

I checked on all my mystery squashes:

Three kind of squash. Don't know what they are. Don't know when they're ready to pick. Don't really know what to do with them all. #squashproblems

I picked the three in this picture- they didn't pop off the vine easily and I kind of had to break the stem. I cut the green one open and it's not a summer squash. It has large seeds forming on the inside- they look like pumpkin seeds. So, in my never ending quest to try to figure out what these things are, I think they're winter squash, not summer squash. The one on the bottom left has the shape of spaghetti squash, it's just not yellow yet. I should have known that they weren't ready when they didn't pick easily.

But... maybe I'll have vegetables to submit to the Fair this year? I'm in full-on Fair-planning mode.


[crafts] Autumn Wreath

I've been making wreaths from vines since I was a kid. I remember spending the summers at my grandparents farm (where I now live) and ripping down vines to make rustic wreaths. Earlier this summer, I saw some vines growing all over the large rock pile we have. I pulled them off, stripped the leaves, sat on the porch and wound them into a simple, plain wreath. It's been hanging up undecorated. This past weekend I bought some fall-themed faux floral decorations at the craft store. Here is my handmade wreath, before adding the decorations on the right:

Homemade vine wreath + Craft store autumn floral decorations =

And after, hanging on the front door:

Autumn wreath. Might submit to fair. Unsure if faux floral decorations allowed.

I would like to enter it into the fair this year but I'm not sure faux-floral things are allowed. I will have to check the book. I don't have a problem with fake flowers or stick my nose up at them- this wreath will last forever and it's weather-proof, which is nice because it's outdoors.

It may seem a tad early to decorate for autumn but I had to take down all the leftover 4th of July decorations and the only sensible replacement seemed to be fall stuff. The entryway table now looks like:


I'll probably leave it the same until Thanksgiving. Maybe add a few spooky things for Halloween but only change the entire display for Christmas. ... Yuck! I can't believe I'm talking about Christmas decorations in early August. I'm going take some pictures of flowers and go back to complaining about the awful heat and humidity.


[misc] New pet: Rocky

It was just about this time last year that we rabbit-sat for Rocky while his owner moved. Things haven't been working out at the new place- it's small and conflict with the other cats living there was causing stress. Our cats didn't have any trouble with Rocky last year, so we agreed to take him for good. He made himself at home within minutes:

Our new family member, Rocky. We rabbit-sat for him last year. He just moved in permanently today. ����������

He remembered all of our cardboard tunnels and castles. He was running around, exploring, doing binkies. The cats came down in the evening- to smell his stuff and check him out. I was worried that having him around would stress them out but they seemed to remember him. They went about their business as usual- just keeping an eye on him. There has been no sign of aggression or anxiety. Penny runs and hides when people come over to visit but she didn't do that with Rocky- she just watched him. I think it's a good sign that Rocky and his hutch are in the living room and the cats haven't been avoiding the living room- they're just staying out of his reach. We're giving the cats extra love and praise. 

Now I just have to figure out how to take care of a rabbit. I've been googling every food to see if I can give it to him. "Can rabbits eat grapes?" "Can rabbits eat celery?" I'm picking up the CSA this afternoon- so I should have lots of nice things to share with him.


[cooking] Summer vegetables

As much as I love receiving CSA vegetables every week, it's kind of a chore trying to use them all up. Some things are eaten quickly- cucumbers I love to eat plain, potatoes get roasted, tomatoes/onion/cilantro are immediately turned into salsa. But things like zucchini and summer squash Dollar doesn't like, so I have to try to find either (1) new ways to prep them that he will enjoy (no joy thus far), or (2) a dish that uses everything up and I will have it for supper and take to work for lunch.

This week, I used a mandolin to slice zucchini, summer squash, tomatoes and onions. I layered them in a casserole dish:

Summer vegetables

I mixed up some eggs and milk and poured it over (for a crustless quiche) and baked. I added cheese on top for the last 15 minutes of baking. So what's not to like? Summer vegetables galore, eggs, cheese. It tasted good but was rather watery. I didn't salt any moisture out of the squash or squeeze pulp from the tomatoes. This idea needs refinement. 

Speaking of summer squash, the plants in the garden have started to produce these:

Tatume Squash

I think it's a tatume squash, called "calabacita" in Spanish. It seems like a popular item in Mexican cooking. I've found some interesting recipes online. The one I picked here is very young- I'll let them go to see how big/dark they get. It seems like an item you can consume either as summer squash or fall squash. We'll see.


[gardening] Late summer flowers

Late summer flowers are blooming like crazy now. I love the combo of coneflower, daisies and black-eyed susans:

I love this summertime trio. #echinacea #shastadaisy #rudbeckia

All three are quite tall and the daisies and black-eyed susans (rudbeckia) are drooping like crazy. I'll be moving the blacked-eyed susans and dividing the daisies. I will have to get some hoops/support for next year. The rudbeckia will probably be move to be behind this liatris:


Day lilies are going- but the deer have become more brazen and have eaten A LOT of the unopened flowers. 

Four #daylilies blooming now! ��

They've also gotten at the hostas in the shade bed. Partially, I wasn't around to diligently spray everything but it's been so hot, I just don't want to be outside gardening. I have so much weeding to do. 

Threadleaf coreopsis growing well. Will divide next spring.

Threadleaf #coreopsis blooming so well this year. I'm going to divide it next spring.

Only have a few asiatic lilies blooming by the deck in the back yard but they are so fragrant, you definitely get a lovely whiff when a breeze comes through:

Asiatic lily

These should only get bigger and multiply in the years to come.

Gladiolus are blooming:

Lots of new #gladiolus in bloom.

I got a bag of mixed colors and planted the bulbs in April or May. This was my first time growing them. I may go through the trouble of digging them up after a killing frost and drying/saving them to plant next spring. I should probably mark the different colors now, as they bloom, to group them separately.

I planted a little jackmanii clematis root this spring in a pot. About a month ago I moved it to a permanent spot (where it will have full sun but the root ball will stay shaded/cool) and added a wire trellis. It has grown to be about 12 inches tall and there was one bloom:

Planted #clematis vine this spring. Only grew about 12 inches tall and this is the only bloom but looking forward to exponential growth in the years to come.

That's okay- I'm just happy that it survived and took hold. I think (hope) next year it's going to be a lot bigger with more flowers. The birds just love the wire trellis- it's just perfect for their little bird feet to wrap around and perch on. Unfortunately, this means everything below is spotted with bird poop. Sigh- you can see it on the rocks behind the vine. Didn't see that coming. Oh well.


[travel] San Diego

After we returned home from Quebec City, I had enough time to do laundry, repack and head out to San Diego, CA for a conference. My hotel was very close to the convention center:

Good morning, San Diego. My hotel room looks down over the convention center. I wonder if there's any leftover stuff from ComicCon.

Very, very close. 

The conference was good. I came many years ago but was put off by how crowed it was- ~14,000 people attend. After the crowds in Quebec, this was a breeze. It was good to connect with people all over the country that I regularly email with but hardly ever get to see.

One afternoon we took a ferry over to Coronado. I got to dip my feet into the Pacific:

Overlooking Point Loma at Coronado. Dipped my feet in the Pacific and then told to get out because the water is toxic after recent rain. I can't wait to be a mutant.

We were promptly told by a lifeguard with a bullhorn to get out, the water is toxic after recent rain. Didn't seem to stop all the Navy Seals in helicopters conducting training exercises further offshore.

Waiting for the ferry back at sunset:

Coronado, waiting for the ferry. The sunsets here don't suck.

Where I am in VT, we don't get spectacular sunsets. It's all hills and valleys- the sun goes down behind the hill and then it's dark. I think the only place to enjoy a sunset around here is either on a mountain top or looking out across Lake Champlain (or other large lake).

My favorite flower, which was blooming everywhere around the city:


Bird of Paradise. It looks like a crane with an awesome orange mohawk. I love these so much- wish I could grow them at home but they're far too tropical.


[travel] FEQ - art and shows

Yesterday I showed some pictures around Quebec City. Today I have pictures of the shows we saw. Saturday night, the same day we arrived, we went to see the Foo Fighters. It rained. A lot. There was a moment when it stopped after the first song and everyone was like, "Yeah! I'm wet but the rain stopped, so let's rock!" The rain started again for the third song. By the fourth song, I was drenched. Like, jumped into a lake fully clothed drenched. I ran for the exit, along with everyone else. They ended up canceling the show after just four songs.

Foo Fighters. It was a little rainy. #feq #best4songsever

I mean, there was a lot of lightning. No one wants Dave Grohl to get electrocuted on top of suffering a broken leg.

I won't go into too much detail about the main show the next night, because it was terrible, suffice it to say that it was worth attending just to see parents grabbing their kids and leaving when Iggy Azalea started "singing". We saw, with our own eyes, a girl covering her ears and running out. We should have done the same. 

Next night, Doobie Brothers and Boston. A few people came for that show:

A few people showed up for Doobie Brothers and Boston. #feq

I went to visit the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec the next day. Great works of art here.

Time for some culture at Musee national des beaux-arts du Quebec. #mnbaq

An afternoon at the museum. #mnbaq

That night, we went to catch a burlesque show down at the port. So much fun- Dollar got pulled on stage to participate.

#spiegelworld #empire #quebeccity

Graffiti Guy in 3D. Spintop on Driftwood and Sanddorn Branch Balance. #spiegelworld #empire #quebeccity

The next night: The Rolling Stones. The show everyone came to see. The gates were opening at 6pm and we got into the queue at 5:45 pm. To say the line was "long" is an understatement. The line went down from the gate, across the street, around a rotary, down to the end of the block and wrapped back around to the gate again. It was the biggest line I've ever been in.

Here were are waiting by a fountain:


Here's an aerial shot with an arrow pointing to where we would have been standing in the above picture:


Who knows, that arrow could actually be pointing to me for all I know.

Once inside, it was just a scramble to get a spot. We had been sitting in the back, on the grassy slope, for most of the shows. We threw our blanket down and took turns visiting the bathroom and hunting for food/beer. This was my view:


No pictures from the show because I was that enraptured. And the stage was so far away, Mick looked like an ant from my perspective.

Just me and 93,000 of my closest friends enjoys the Stones:


We were sitting up by the FEQ sign.


Merci beaucoup. It was so much fun. We'll do FEQ again, I know.