28 October 2007
The past week offered minimal computer time (perhaps a good thing every now and then), and replaced it with many outings (perhaps too many) to catch up with friends plus a visit to the health centre for immunisations.
Whilst the dreaded immunisations barely caused Baby C to flutter his eyelashes, the week culminated in a day of nausea and vomiting for Scott and I, and a complete loss of rhythm, order and success with Baby C's daytime sleeps. Brilliant timing. Perhaps the chaos of the end of the week was just a result of the variety of the week before. Perhaps he's just getting that little bit older, and along with the new pleasures that brings, comes the need for a different approach to settling and sleep. Last night was a good one though- oh, how a good night sleep makes so much difference on your perception of life ahead.
Somehow in there I still found time to bake bread (and do a little bit of knitting. I'll tell you about that later). It's so strange how something I could never achieve when I was working full time, and my days were so routinely ordered, can be accomplished whilst riding the chaotic learning curve of new parenthood. And so, Loaf 7, which I feel is perhaps one of the finest to date.
Made with the Anchor brand Bread and Pizza flour, which I think is my favorite white bread flour so far, this loaf rose beautifully. I've also discovered that keeping it in a plastic bag helps the crust to soften a little for easier slicing. It's amazing the things you discover through experimentation. We'll have to pursue further trial and error experiments with the daytime sleep thing too.
22 October 2007
The drawings are almost done. Almost done enough to get Council permission to do what we want to do. I met with a planning officer today and there don't appear to be any huge hurdles (from the planning department at least) to it happening. To extending the ground floor of our little home from that (above) to this (below) - with a second living space and a third bedroom (aka The Craft Room). (Sorry I managed to screen grab them at different sizes for some reason, so they look a bit odd beside eachother)
Those of you who excel at Spot the Difference picture games will also notice that the back door moves, and the toilet, laundry and fridge come in for some rearranging, aimed at improving the connection between outside and inside, and making the downstairs toilet somewhat more private.
So that's it. Pretty simple really. There isn't much scope for architectural invention or exploration due to the budget, and quite frankly, the existing house and surroundings (mid 80's builder designed townhouse) don't warrant it. It's a case of keep it simple and effective, working with what exists.
Of course, there is so much more still to happen in this process. It feels so slow at times. There are a million and one things to be researched, decisions to be made, prices to be sought, dates to be agreed. But it feels like we're starting to get there, and that maybe it won't be just an idea represented in lines on the computer screen for ever. Perhaps one day I'll be rummaging through my craft supplies, all laid out on display on nice open shelves, and sitting down at my sewing machine, with soft south light coming in through the window, and sewing some of the things that I'd love to be making right now.
19 October 2007
I don't often follow through with the meme thing, but Nichola tagged me (in an excellent post about over consumption, which I wholeheartedly support even though I was too consumed with other things to hop on the Blogger Action Day bandwagon to say so), I haven't memed for a while (if that's an acceptable verb for you) and it's probably good to take a break from breadmaking and drawing to blog a little. So here we go.
You have to open the book you're currently reading on page 161 and read the fifth sentence on the page, then think of 5 bloggers to tag with.
"The exact cause is unknown but thought to be due to the high levels of hormones passed from mother to baby during labour, stimulating the oil-producing glands (the sebaceous glands) and causing pimples."
See if you can guess which book it is.
Clue 1: Australian parents have a good chance of getting it right first guess.
Clue 2: No it's not The World Encyclopedia of Bread and Breadmaking. Although I am up to my fifth loaf of no-knead bread and the sixth is currently in the making.
And feel free to tag yourself!
16 October 2007
My hands have been a bit tied up lately- trying to get through drawing up our house extensions so I can have a "chat" with the local council about them, in preference to most other creative enterprises. It's amazing how long it takes to get things (like the drawings) done when you're mostly working in 45 minute snatches while the baby sleeps (or less, once you allow time for making a cup of tea, wolfing down another slice of home made bread or a trip to the loo).
But the drawings are gradually getting done, and I have even managed to pick up my Hourglass Sweater again in honour of the Rugby World Cup knitalong on Ravelry (one sleeve and the neckline to go.. don't think I'll be getting it done by the end of the competition though), and finish my first ever 100% crochet project- Amineko (who is probably going to be called Smurf from now on, due to his Smurfic colouring).
The Vital Statistics
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Double Knit Cotton, in Turquoise and Cream
Needles: 3.5mm metal crochet hook
Comments and notes: Really do-able pattern for a beginner crocheter, although I found working with the cotton to create such a dense fabric was really hard work on my hands. Generally this wasn't a problem as I wasn't working on it in long stretches (see above). The hardest part was probably doing the embroidery, and trying to get the stitching on the nose sit neatly and evenly on the lumpy crochet fabric.
To stuff him I got a little inventive- the hands and feet, and his bottom are supposed to be stuffed with some pellets or beads. I found some cheap glass beads at Scragfight (about 3mm diameter) and strung them together, so each hand or foot has a little string of bead inside and there isn't any danger of them working their way out through the holes and into a baby's mouth (for example).
Overall I'm exceptionally pleased with it.
OK, time for bed now...
8 October 2007
I'd been thinking it would be lovely to get into regular bread making for a while now. Partly because I like to know what goes into the things I eat, and also because buying artisan loaves at the market is a pricey luxury (OK, maybe $5 a loaf isn't too much in the greater scheme of things, but if I can do it myself for a fraction of the cost -and with added satisfaction- then...). I just like making things myself.
A couple of shots at my trusty old family recipe for honey bread in the breadmaker were really unsatisfying though. The old breadmaker quite possibly reached the end of it's functional life somewhere in the last 5 years while I wasn't using it. And then I remembered the No-knead Bread that other bloggers' were raving about some time earlier this year.
I tell you, I truly felt like I had miraculously become a skilled artisan baker when I opened the oven and lifted the lid of my Le Creuset pot to find this beautiful loaf inside. It seemed so much more like a loaf of bread should really be than anything I've ever made before. Crusty, with a delicious chewy texture, nice holes, great flavour and it made the house smell delicious.
Amazingly, it took very little time to make, just a bit of planning and coordination to complete the steps at the right intervals: Mix dough mid afternoon between attempts to settle Baby C for his next sleep; Turn out, fold and rest dough the next morning after breakfast; Shape dough after shower; Preheat pan and oven after weekly trip to the market; Unveil spectacular bread in time for lunch. Incredibly satisfying.
On the downside, it's a bit difficult to slice and butter (the big holes have some drawbacks), the kitchen seems to be covered with flour now, and the dishcloths I love so much don't seem to be that great at tackling bread dough remnants and flour mountains. And of course there's the fact that it gets eaten really quickly leaving you wanting more... (loaf #2 came out of the oven today).
I think I need to find a handy source for good breadmaking flour now- I used Anchor special blend Bread and Pizza flour, which was at the local supermarket, and was great, but I'd like to buy supplies in larger quanities. Let me know if you have any local suggestions.
3 October 2007
I'm in. (Thanks RM!)
A new rabbit warren to get lost in.
I don't think I'll be photographing my stash, ball by ball, any time soon, but it sure is fun looking around at different projects, group discussions and getting inspired by everyone's work.
Some of the crafting going on here right now (hey lets face it, the only crafting going on here right now) is perhaps a little out of character for me.
It's crochet (Thanks for the heathen crochet lesson Sooz!);
It's bright blue (I'm not really a blue kind of person. I actually started it in a stone colour, with a larger crochet hook, but when I frogged to start again with a smaller hook (Thanks again Sooz) I had a strange urge to crochet in colour);
And I started it without so much of a thought about how much yarn it might need, so last week I had to make a return trip to Sunspun to pick up a second ball of blue.
It's an Amineko. Well, a body, head, and 1.5 arms of Amineko. Hopefully it will be a complete Amineko sometime soon.