September 03, 2014

I Bake a Geode; I Sew Something Special and I Enter My Creations in the Fair.

I know that a few of you come here so that you will feel better about your own pathetic lives.  If you are one of these individuals, then today's post about baking is for YOU.

Some of you have enjoyed my baking misadventures.

The loaves à la toddler:

The unleavened tooth-breakers:

And now this:

Yes peeps, it all comes THAT EASILY to me.

Several months ago, I purchased a bag of light rye flour from the Arva Flour Mill.  If it's good enough for the White Stripes, it's good enough for me:

My kids are fond of rye bread, which puzzles me.  I enjoy it, but it's not exactly the go-to for the under-ten set.

I found a recipe for Rye Bread in Fanny Farmer, one of my favourite cookbooks:

I needed a break from quilting this gift for my neighbours; baking was the answer.

(Yes, the lines are supposed to be crooked like that, although I think that bit of drunken quilting at the top of the dark brown bit is especially wonky and probably not entirely intentional).

I also needed to "not think" about the book that I was not writing while hosting Japanese students:

I would bake.  Baking is wholesome and satisfying.  And I had a full bag of rye flour.

Let's get back to that bread.

When I started to kneading, I couldn't figure out why the mixture was so damn stiff.  I reread the recipe.

Doh! (get it?)

I forgot to add the milk.  :-)

I was not pleased with myself, not pleased at all.  This is what I get for multi-tasking, which I clearly SUCK at.  Obviously, I was not going to begin again so I poured in the cup of milk that I forgot to add and tried to "mix it" in with my trusty wooden spoon.  I wasn't mixing as much as I was pulverizing.  Not even Boney M could get me out of my funk.

I ended up with this after 10 minutes of kneading (and mofo'ing):

I let it sit until it doubled in size and then I punched it down - KAPOW! BAM! BAM!  My favourite part of baking bread.

Because I don't want to chronicle the rest of this baking debacle, let's just leave it at this:  My bread was like a rock.  But it sure looked beautiful:

Laughing my hand off here.

The interior of the loaf tasted good but the crust could chip a tooth.  Let's call my loaf The Geode - crack that hard bitch open and you might find a treasure inside.

********  Intermission ***********
have any of you read The Sisters Brothers?

So I was a total slacker this summer and couldn't even post one blog entry.  Please don't tell me that you can't or shouldn't start a sentence with the word so because I don't care.

This summer, I was too busy sewing, playing soccer, yelling, drinking and complaining.  Isn't everyone's summer like that?

I wrote the first part of this blog (above the asterisks) sometime in July and then I wrote some more again in August, but I just couldn't get it together.  And now I'm finishing it the first week of September.  Oh well.  None of my loyal readers give a fig.  Right?

Okay, back to it.

Intermission's over.


The good news is that I did finish the weiner dog quilt:

The pattern is from Boo Davis' Dare to Be Square.  I don't normally make cutesy-pie quilts but something drew me to this pattern - I think it was the seventies vibe.  Boo's quilt in the pattern had a solid blue background, but I like to mix it up a bit so I went for blue and grey.  I also threw in some pink in the dog's body because every little boy needs a little or a lotta pink in his life.

The quilt should really be called a wall-hanging or play mat, due to the enthusiasm of the quilter (i.e. lots of stitches per square inch), and as such, it is as stiff as my loaf of rye.  :-)  It was well-received by the recipients, although they practically had to tear it out of my arms.

In other creative news, the crafty denizens of Bruce Street have been working on entries for the Western Fair.  How could we resist such tempting categories as Wacky Lamp or Horrific Hat?  And I musn't neglect to mention that we can win TOP DOLLAR.

Gwen made "Munchkins", a family of three hapless dolls:

I made Reading Lamp:  a lamp and shade covered in crumpled pages from Trixie Belden and The Mystery Off Glen Road and J.R.R. Tolkien's Book of Lost Tales.  I bought the lamp from the Goodwill for $3 (you can still see the orange sticker in the pic below).  I already had the books and the glue gun, so it was a cheap project.

Before / during:

I burned my fingers quite a bit with the hot glue while crumpling up all those pages and sticking them onto the base and shade.  It's clear that the life of an artist is fraught with danger.

Here's the big reveal:

Stunning, I think.

In a fit of pure genius, I made Hat Head:

I had purchased the bag of doll heads from a yard sale many years ago and had been waiting for just the right project. 

This is why I go to yard sales, peeps :-)

Who needs a meat dress?  Eat your heart out, Gaga:

I love Hat Head!  I think it's my favourite hat ever, even beating out the burr and teezel hat that I made ten years ago, which sadly, I do not have a picture of.  I do have a picture of a teezel though :-)

HH is also a nod to Pretty Ugly, my Western Fair crepe paper and Barbie doll creation from 2004, now languishing in a landfill.  My evil offspring tore off most of the heads and bodies from the lamp, shortening its moniker from Pretty Ugly to just Ugly.  

I also entered some knitting (a vest for Gwen and a bag that I made for myself), and Dynamite - a quilted wall hanging that I sewed last Spring:

I don't think that I have much of a chance of winning in the quilting category (you can win between $300 and $500 in the category that I entered), but I am quite proud of my piece.  The Quilt Police will find many things wrong with my quilt, not least the wonky shapes, which are completely intentional. On the plus side, it's my own design (I haven't ever been confident designing my own things); I attempted free-motion quilting - definitely not my strength as a quilter; and I think the design is interesting to look at.  I will admit to being very curious about the other entries in this category.

Here's Art Bag.  I repurposed a pair of handles from a purse that I purchased at the Goodwill, and I lined the bag with a wine-coloured taffeta skirt (also a Goodwill purchase).

I knit the bag over many months, took a very deep breath and tossed it in a washer full of hot water (to felt it).  Here it is, only a couple of rows in:

Lastly, here is the pinafore that I made for Gwen.  It actually looks quite hideous in this photo, and is much prettier in person.

The kids and I will be venturing to the Western Fair next week and I am quite excited to see how we made out.

I love being creative; I would die if I didn't make things.

image from:

Go make things!

Optional musical pairing:  Hooray! Hooray! It's A Holi-Holiday! by Boney M