Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Costume Tutorial With A Serious Disclaimer

I made my Halloween costume this week, and of course having this awesome blog I thought "what a great opportunity to make a tutorial for my blog." What started as a "mostly" thought out plan to make a very simple replica of this bumblebee masterpiece my mom made in the early nineties...

... ended up as an entire evening of crafting a striped shift dress with a lined bodice. So while I would love for this post to be a sweet and simple tutorial (my fave kind) on a bee costume, unfortunately for everyone involved, it is anything but that. It is basically me talking about how to make a dress, that you would normally make from a pattern, out of thin air; aka a very "correct" but scrappy way to make a dress. I am no sewing master, but I would definitely not take this project on unless you have a few sewing projects under your belt.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

TechShop Day

So today I am taking a vacation day from work to kick start my Etsy shop. I haven't mentioned the store yet because so far there isn't a lot to see. If you don't know what Tech Shop is, I explained it in detail on my art blog last year. In a nutshell, it's a maker's paradise.

The only downside to Tech Shop, and this is probably my fault, is it's insanely boring here! A lot of the techniques are automated once you set them up, so you end up with some downtime, especially if your project is large. Ex: each set of 24 Christmas ornaments I make today takes about 35 minutes to cut. The rabbit shapes I printed last year (that can be seen on my art blog) took 4 hours EACH to print. So today I hit a button, hang out for 35 minutes, and repeat.

Luckily I have you to talk to. Blogging has its perks.

Here are some videos of the laser I'm running. It took me about a half hour to remember how to use it, so you can see the faint ghost lines of failure on the board where the laser is cutting.

I'll be posting the finished ornaments and the results of the rest of my time at Tech Shop in a later post. Keep an eye out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Silicon Mold Making for Anyone

Last night I made molds in preparation for a planned visit to Tech Shop Pittsburgh. If you're not familiar with Tech Shop, I described it and everything I was learning to do there on my art blog last year. The molds are bell shapes that I plan to vacuum form poly carbonate sheets onto to reproduce many clear, plastic bells for Christmas Ornaments I am making. It sounds complicated, but it's really not once you break down the steps. There will be more on the details of that project in a later post.

Right now I just want to share the process of plaster casting using a home made silicon mold. It's actually surprisingly easy and, I think, very cool.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Everything Hurts

So I ran a half marathon on Saturday that I wasn't necessarily prepared for. I actually ended up kicking some major ass for the first ten and a half. Around eleven things started to fall apart, but that works out to about 80% of the race being a success. I'm good with that.

So here are my stats: 

Here you can see the clear decline in performance by miles eleven and twelve, and the shit storm that was mile thirteen. Believe it or not, the photo to the right was taken during mile 12 or 13. I was walking as I approached the photographer and asked him to take my picture while I was running. I mean... I ran for ten and a half constant miles. Where were you when I was passing people? Come on, photo man.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Winging It

On Saturday I am running my first half marathon. The furthest I've run is 10 miles; and you might know this, but any runner will tell you "if you can run 10, you can run 13." I skipped my 11 because I got burned out; and I basically skipped every run since my 10, except for a few, because I got burned out. Also, I'm sort of lazy. One thing I have never said is "I love running", because I don't.

This is what I look like when I'm running.
You're welcome.
So what about the 13 miles I paid 50 dollars to run? Well, I am just going to wing it. I told my best running buddy, Beckey, that "I'm just going to be zen about it." Sometimes I crack myself up. You know, I'm going to show up in my comfiest running shorts that don't fall down in the front, wear my most supportive shoes (and socks), get a lot of sleep between now and Saturday morning, drink a ton of water, make sure I do a number 2 before the race, and just basically try to hit that exact spot of "everything about me feels right" before I cross that starting line. Easy enough right? I'm going to go ahead and say that the answer to that question is probably. And probably is about all I think I need.

After the race I'm taking a nap and going to a party, so even if the race sucks, ya know... whatever. 

Wish me luck.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pie 02 - Honey Pie

I'm sitting here while the honey pie bakes. Let me tell you, the smell is TO DIE. It basically smells like a butter bomb went off in our entire house.

Anyway while we wait for the finished product, let me tell you about the experience of making a Honey Pie. First of all, I never knew that "honey pie" was an actual thing. I always thought it was a pet name that I sometimes use when I'm drunk.

With half of the Pate Brisee left from last week's Banana Cream Pie I had to figure out which recipe's assigned pie crust I was going to skip making. Remember the plan? Each pie has it's own recipe for pie crust and I'm making all of them to gain experience. Well the honey pie's crust called for leaf lard, which is the fat from around a pig's kidneys. I didn't necessarily feel like trying to acquire leaf lard or eating leaf lard in general so this was the perfect pie crust recipe to skip.

Also I didn't need to make a trip to the store to get anything on the list so this pie was a clear winner. #lazysunday

When Rob and I went to upstate New York we got local honey. I used a blueberry honey from Ithica, New York for this recipe.

I learned a lot today about crust. First I learned to crimp the pie correctly. Check out that beautiful crimp job.

Then I learned the true use of pie weights. I bought some weights and used them on the last pie thinking their purpose was to keep the bottom of the crust from bubbling. Turns out you also need the weights to fill the pie enough to keep the sides from slouching. Today, even though the crimping came out exactly how I wanted it to, it basically melted the moment it went in the oven. I realized this and in a rush, tried my best to fix the sides, and filled in the pie pan with the first thing I could think of... oats. Basically the crust got deformed. Now I know for next time.

Making the filling for the pie was pretty easy. In case you were wondering, this is what butter looks like melting into hot honey.

This is the pie right out of the oven, and then about 20 minutes later after cooling.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Pie 01 - Banana Cream Pie

I would like to say I am a decisive person, but that would be a lie. I didn't make the pie crust Monday night like I had planned. I didn't even make all the crust in one batch like I said I was going to. Instead, Tuesday I changed the plan and decided to make the assigned, different pie crusts for all 25 pies. I was reminded that my goal is to become good at making pies. By making each crust I will have the opportunity to tweak my technique and hopefully learn how the ingredients affect the overall result.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Pies Begin Now

A lot of crazy stuff, planned and unplanned, happened in the last two weeks. Things are back to normal now. I'm ready to start the 25 Perfect Pie challenge.

This is a countdown to the one year due date of pies:

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Finger Lakes - Upstate New York Trip

This weekend Rob and I went to upstate New York to do visit some wineries and breweries, and to do some canoeing and picnicking. The weather wasn't ideal, so the outdoors activities did not end up happening. Luckily it turns out, Geneva, NY and the surrounding area has no shortage of wineries, breweries, and CHEESERIES.