[cooking] Pumpkin rolls and cake

I tried some pumpkin-shaped pumpkin rolls this past weekend:

Pumpkin dinner rolls. 🎃 They are so. Freaking. Cute. 🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

I used this recipe but cut it in half, to only have one sheet of rolls. Well, first I cut, cleaned and roasted the last of the pile of pie pumpkins. More puree, more seeds. I used a half cup of puree for these rolls. They were pretty easy to bring together and shape. You make 8 cuts around the outside and it doesn't have to be perfect- the 2nd rise puffs everything up and any uneven areas get filled in.

Here's what the rolls looks like after cutting, before the second rise:

Pumpkin rolls

They are so cute- and I think I'll do them for Thanksgiving this year. Going to try out bird-shaped rolls this weekend.

Next, I used more puree to make this pumpkin espresso bundt cake:

Pumpkin espresso bundt. #kingarthurflour #yearofthebundt #baking #pumpkinrecipes #pumpkincake

This was really good- lovely fall recipe to add to my ever expanding list of pumpkin recipes. And any excuse to use a bundt pan...


[misc] Penny Monday

This was Penny from last Sunday:

I let Penny sleep in long enough. Time to vacuum. 🙀

But also this Sunday. Because this is what she does every Sunday. What is she so tired from? All the cats get into bed at night with me and sleep around me for 8 hours. Is it so exhausting to get up  and eat breakfast? You need a five hour nap to recover?

Sunday Morning Penny

I guess so. 

Was a good weekend- Saturday was sunny and cool. I processed the last of the pie pumpkins (hurray) and made some pumpkin recipes. My mom and sister came up Sat night for dinner. Sunday was football

I cast-off the yellow mohair Seascape Stole. Just have to wash/block. Immediately cast on for a simple twisted rib beanie using some luxury cashmere/yak yarn from my sister. Time to do lots of super quick/easy projects...


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: Negative space and round form

One technique for pouring is to use negative space- areas that aren't covered with colored paint. You set up for a normal dirty cup pour but surround the upside down cup with white paint before lifting the colored cup. Then the edges blend together but there is still lots of "blank" space:

Trying out negative space. #art #fluidacrylic #fluidart #fluidpainting

These blank areas aren't bare canvas- the are covered in white paint. I love this- would definitely like to try more like this.

I also ordered some round pieces of wood to make planets:


This was my first time using the swipe technique and it really saved this one. It was a jumbled up mess but the swipe kind of gave the colors direction and evened out the cells. And makes it look more planet-y.


Planet close-up

After doing these paintings non-stop (NON. STOP.) for seven days, the novelty is starting to wear off and I'd like to try and be a bit more careful/thoughtful with how I mix and pour colors. I'm going to put away the paints, allow everything I've made to dry and then start cleaning/varnishing the finished pieces.

I've got plenty of knitting to keep me occupied in the meantime.

TGIF. No big plans for this weekend- just puttering around the house- maybe more sun prints since it's going to be sunny. Patriots on Sunday. 


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: Blues and leftover colors

It looks like this week is just going to be posts about my new acrylic pouring obsession. I'll go back to other stuff next week. For now, all I can think about is mixing pant.

Here's a 12 inch by 12 inch canvas with black and blues and white:

Blue - Fluid Acrylic Painting


Blue - Fluid Acrylic Painting

I like using fewer colors. I need to be less stingy with the paint I mix up to pour- If I have to move/tilt the canvas a lot for coverage, the cells lose their shape and the entire thing looks a little too mixed up.

But what to do when there's lots of little bits of leftover colors? Pour them all into a cup and use them:

Misc colors - Fluid Acrylic Painting

Lots of areas of interest:

Misc colors - Fluid Acrylic Painting

Fluid Acrylic Painting

I tried a couple new techniques and forms, which I'll post tomorrow. Then it's back to regularly scheduled knitting and cats and food.


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: More better cells

The next fluid painting- I remembered to add the oil before pouring this time!- was a mix of white, red, yellow, gold, brown:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

This canvas is 12 inches by 12 inches. I had enough leftover paint to pour another (same colors) onto a 8 inch by 10 inch canvas:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

That little green splooch in the lower lefthand corner was because I accidentally dropped the wet canvas after the pour and it landed face down (Murphy's Law FTW) and got a little of the sea green from yesterday's pour on the corner.

Also had enough paint leftover that I was able to pour over five little wooden coaster squares:

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

Fluid Acrylic Coaster

The colors aren't too muddy. The cells are nice and distinct. I'm really happy with how these coasters turned out. They're small, so a good object for leftover paints.

Some close-ups:

#fluidart #fluidacrylic #fluidpainting

Fluid Acrylic Painting

So now I need to turn my mind to properly finishing these things. Cleaning, varnishing, framing. They're matte after the paint dries and I'd like to make them super shiny (to enhance the colors and bring out some of the metallic/glitter paints that I use). 


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: Sea green

Here's my third fluid acrylic pour:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

This was after I got some necessary supplies. 

- Floetrol by Flood. You can get other art/craft flow aids from the craft store but this is much cheaper at $7 for a quart (or $13 for a gallon) from Home Depot. Mix this with paint to get it to flow better. It doesn't dilute the final paint color- it dries clear. It just helps with thinning and movement. This is also good because it saves how much actual paint you end up using.

- Butane torch. Like one of those little handheld guns that you can finish the top of a creme brulee with. This is to quickly sweep over the surface of the paint after it's poured to pop air bubbles and create more cells.

- Something that doesn't mix with water. Oil. Lubricant. Silicone. Dimethicone. Treadmill oil. Maybe sewing machine oil? You can easily get something that will work at the drug store: KY True Feel (Dimethicone), Astroglide X (Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone), OGX Coconut Hair Serum (many ingredients but dimethicone is the first).

I've been much happier since I started using the above. Then you just need acrylic paint, cups, stirrers, canvas. And something to keep the canvas elevated as the paint drips off and dries.

A ratio that seems to work well is: 2 parts floetrol, 1 part paint, 1 part water. Then depending on how much paint you're mixing up, you're really only going to want 1 - 3 drops of oil per color.

Here's a close-up:

Fluid Acrylic Painting

These colors are kind of muddy because I mixed all the individual paints, poured them sequentially into a dump cup- and realized I forgot to add oil to each individual color first. Argh! So I dropped in 5 drops and kind of mixed it up before I poured. The colors are more blended than I wanted but I got some cells.

Tomorrow- I'll show my next projects- that have better cells and color distinction.


[art] Fluid Acrylic Painting: My new obsession

Fluid acrylic painting. Who knew. This is one of those things were I see a craft video and I'm like, "I have all that stuff. I'll try it." And I go home and try it and it's awesome. Apart from the first failed attempt to even mix the paint correctly. (Turns out I didn't have all the stuff I needed and I tried improvising with random home chemicals; I'm no chemist so all the paint turned into snot consistency which was pretty much the opposite of the nice, runny, fluid consistency that I needed.)

Anyway, here was my first real pour:


The paint was thick (only thinned with water) and I tried getting "cells" with a hair dryer. This really didn't work and it just ended up pushing the paint around the canvas.

From what I've gathered from my extensive history of researching this technique over the past, like, 5 days, the gist is that you mix paint and water (yes, I'm using plastic knives, I don't have Popsicle sticks):


Pour it in some color sequence into another cup and turn that cup upside down onto the canvas:

Dirty cup pour

Lift up the cup:

Liquid acrylic pour

Then tilt the canvas to cover the entire surface. Let excess paint drip off the sides and set it on something to keep it elevated while it dries.

All the colors blending and not blending and swirling make a totally unique picture with lots of visual interest:

First liquid acrylic pour

I liked it. Obviously, it was my first time and it's not going to be amazing and ready to be hung in a gallery. I wanted cells, though, and you need to add some kind of lubricant to the paint (oil and water don't mix). I've seen people use treadmill oil, 3-in-1 household oil, KY or hair care products that contain dimethicone.

I wanted to try again, so I mixed up some different colors and added some WD-40 (what I had on hand). Made another dirty cup pour and this is the result:


I really like this one. There are more noticeable spots of cells from the WD-40:




There are many things that I learned just from doing these two small 8" x 10" painting. There are some special things that you do need (notably a paint flow aid and a torch). It's messy but a very fast process. I did a bunch more paintings over the weekend and will post them here throughout the week.


[cooking] Red curry pumpkin coconut soup

More pumpkin for supper last night:

Thai red curry pumpkin coconut soup. And naan. 🎃 #pumpkinsoup

Pretty simple and quick to bring together. I finely minced a small onion and sauteed in olive oil. Add minced ginger. Then garlic. Then a couple cups of pumpkin puree, a cup of chicken stock and a cup of coconut milk. Added a tablespoon of Thai red curry paste. Heated and garnished with coconut milk and cilantro. Served with homemade naan.

TGIF! Going to pick up some art supplies after work- I just found a new art hobby: fluid acrylic painting. I tried it on a couple small canvases I had on hand last night and I loooooove any piece of art that is unique and only takes 45 seconds to make. That budgets well into my schedule.

Tomorrow should be sunny so I'll finally be able to try some solar printing. My sister gave me a lot of cyanotype paper for my birthday- you just put things on top of the paper, leave it in the sun and then rinse in water. Voila- nature silhouettes. I went around last weekend picking and pressing leaves and flowers, so I have everything I need.

More pumpkin recipes to try this weekend: pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin cinnamon rolls. Pats are playing Sunday night, which is better for me- when they play Sunday at 1pm, the afternoon is shot and the house doesn't get cleaned. I've got to make a dump-run; find a nearby laundromat to wash some big blankets and rugs (which should be good knitting time). I'm so ready to be done with this fuffy yellow scarf- but at least I'm on the last ball of yarn. I've printed off a dozen new hat patterns- I just want to move on to quick things for holiday gifts!


[cooking] Rugelach

This month's King Arthur Flour #bakealong challenge is rugelach:

This month's #bakealong is #rugelach. #kingarthurflour

This was my first time making these traditional Jewish sweets and I did the recipe basically as written. My filling is chopped dried cranberries, pecans, brown and maple sugar, cinnamon. I do have a bottle of boiled cider and I used that to brush over the rolled dough to make everything stick. Easy enough to vary the filling based on what you have on hand. 

Lovely little flakey, spiced croissant-y cookies. A rare treat considering all the butter and cream cheese in the dough. Would love to try a savory version next time (spinach or pesto filling? minced sun-dried tomatoes and parm cheese? pepperoni pizza rugelach? pizza-lach? roo-ge-za?).


[cooking] Dehydrated apples

One of our wild apple trees is fully loaded with large apples. I went out to pick some this weekend:

Wild apples picked from the front yard. To dehydrate. 🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎🍎

Maybe not the prettiest but my plan was to peel and dehydrate them. I got a new Spiralizer to make quick work of it:


This product works so well, it makes me angry. Think of all the apples I peeled by hand. All the slicing I did by hand. All the apples. All the pies. All the years. This thing is amazing- pop on an apple and turn a crank- it peels and slices and cores. It's wonderful to have all the slices uniform thickness for dehydrating. I just cut the cored apple spiral in half and lay all the slices on the trays. 8 or so hours later:

Dehydrated apples. Will use softer ones soon and store the driest ones.

What to do with all the dehydrated apples? I think we'll have them for snacking (they're more like apple jerky than apple chips) and then King Arthur Flour just posted a recipe for Appalachian Stack Cake


[cooking] Pumpkins galore

Dollar and I went to a local farm Saturday morning to pick some pumpkins. Since it was the last day that the farm was going to be open for the year, they were having a sale. Pie pumpkins were $3 each... or 10 for $10. So yeah, I came home with:

10 pie pumpkins for $10. Going to roast and freeze the purée.

I don't think I understood how much work it would be. I've never processed a pumpkin into puree for cooking. I brought three inside, cut them into chunks, worked out (and saved) all the seeds, scraped out the innards and set them on baking sheets:

Three pumpkins down... seven more to go? 😩

I bought a small little pumpkin scraper at Baketville in Putney some years ago and it's amazing. I can't find a picture of anything like it online but it is the best instrument I've ever used to cleanly and easily scrape away all the sticky stuff from inside a pumpkin. It's about the size of the palm of my hand and it's a metal half-mood scraping blade with a wooden handle. So small but it made incredibly quick works out of clearing off the pieces from three little pumpkins. I've still got more pumpkins to do- I'll take a picture of it.

Roasted it all at 350F for 45 min. Let rest until cool enough to handle and then the skin just peeled away. Pureed it all, in batches, in the food processor. Result: Ten 1-cup portions, ready for the freezer.

3 pumpkins = 10 cups purée. I'm all out of these little one-cup containers. So... things get interesting tomorrow.

I boiled the seeds in salted water and then left them out to dry overnight:

Pumpkin seeds, boiled in salted water. Will let them dry over night and roast tomorrow. 🎃

The next morning I mixed them all with a little olive oil and Greek seasoning and roasted at 350F for 20 min, stirring every now and then. They're totally toasted and crunchy- perfect snack food. Not chewy, which has kind of happened to me in the past. I think the salted boil and leaving them to dry overnight did the trick.

So that's three pumpkins. I clearly had no idea what I was doing when I thought "Sure! Whatever, I'll get ten, lol!" My list of pumpkin recipes to try: risotto, ravioli, soup, bread... uh... muffins? Scones? Sage seems to be a good pairing with pumpkin, from what I've seen online- I'll go out and pick the last of it before we get a frost tonight.


Here's a picture of the scraper: Maudie's Super Squash Scooper:

Maudie's Super Squash Scooper

Locally, it looks like you can get it at Dan & Whit's (of course) and the Upper Valley Food Coop.

I did three more pumpkins after work yesterday and this scooper is great. More puree went into the freezer but I left a lot out to have this week. Last night I had fettuccine with a pumpkin cream sauce (o.m.f.g. - so good). I have plans for a Thai pumpkin coconut soup tonight.


[art] Bob Ross weekend: 5 paintings

With the long weekend, I decided to take out all my oil paints and get back into Bob Ross painting. 

Saturday painting, Bob Ross style. First time painting on a black canvas. #bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 9. Episode 3. Red Sunset.

One more... #bobrosvia Instagram <a href="http://ift.tt/2gkioma" rel="nofollow">ift.tt/2gkioma</a>s #painting #oilpainting
Season 12. Episode 10. Mountain at Sunset.

New way to do mountain shade. #bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 13. Episode 8. Mountain Exhibition.

#bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 10. Episode 1. Towering Peaks.

#bobross #painting #oilpainting
Season 10. Episode 2. Cabin at Sunset.

While Bob can crank out a painting in 30 minutes, it takes me 60 - 90 minutes. Not bad- easy enough to do in an evening. But I should definitely practice more often.

Now to order frames and start hanging all these.


[knitting] Seascape Stole progress

The yellow scarf grows:

#knitting project grows.

Lovely evening last night. The weather has warmed back up- I think I might get a 2nd bloom from my delphinium:

I might just get one more delphinium bloom?