Jan. 3rd, 2016 12:18 pm
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
Mostly following recipe found here.

2 lb. ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cups water
2 cups chicken stock
3 cans (8 oz.) tomato sauce
1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp basil
1 tsp savory
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. aleppo pepper flakes
1-2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2½ cups uncooked elbow macaroni

In a large pot, cook and crumble beef over medium-high heat until no longer pink. Add the onion, green pepper and garlic. Cook until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add garlic, water, tomato sauce, tomatoes, herbs, paprika, crushed red pepper flakes, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add the elbow macaroni and stir well. Return lid and continue to simmer for 15 minutes or until the noodles are done. Allow to sit covered for 5-10 minutes and mix well before serving.
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
I've got a post on fiber stuff, books and meme (where I was at age 28). No good reason, but just not in a chatty mood right now. Focus is on leaving for yarn school tomorrow. I'm proud to be the type of woman who fits three days clothes and a spinning wheel in my carryon suitcase but also pack my spinning chair (it's got short legs for a short legged me). I'll drive down after work tomorrow. Whee!!
affreca: (Books)
Read: Finished The Quartered Sea. I think it ends up the least good of the series, and I have issues with it that aren't worth bringing up on decade old book that nobody else has read.I followed it with The Traitor Baru Comorant. Which I adored while reading it, and am side-eyeing now. Partially because I kept seeing reviews that mentioned the romance, so I was not expecting how that romance ended. And then read reviews that brought up the tragic queer narrative, and I'm having trouble arguing with those reviews. And now that I'm finished with the book, I find the handling of the evil empire as very heavy handed.

After that, I started Naomi Novik's Uprooted. Again, I'm agreeing the reviews that it bogs down in the middle. In fact, I'm a couple of chapters from the ended, and still feel like I'm reading through the marsh. Which might be why I decided not to take the library book to work, and started reading a romance during my work breaks.

Which was The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. I impulse bought it after a review on Smart Bitches, and it is ridiculous. It roughly based on Prince William and Kate. I'm just trying not to judge myself for reading and enjoying it, OK?

Reading: See above.

Next Up: If I need more fluff, I've got one of the latest Zoe Chant novellas on the nook. Or my reservation on Nnedi Okorafor's Lagoon came in.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: I'm halfway through one of my latest purchases, Respect the Spindle by by Abby Franquemont. Which is good timing, because I'm teaching spinning with a spindle at next month's guild meeting, and I'm not actually a great spindler.

Spinning: I'm trying to finish plying the merino so I have bobbins free for Yarn School and then Spinzilla. I'm working on the second pair of bobbins because I still can't find the broken end on the first pair I was working on. Still not sure how I'm going to deal with that.

Weaving: Apparently, Lawnchair doesn't think I have to many looms because he bought me another one while at Walnut Valley Festival. He was going through the craft area, taking pictures for the website, and became fascinated by peg loom weaving. I've read the instructions, and it seems such a weird way of doing things.
affreca: (Books)
Read: I learned while randomly bopping around Amazon that one of the romances that I'd heard good things about but wasn't willing to pay over $10 for (and my library hadn't picked up) was on sale. It was a close call, but the well done food porn and family feels of Sonali Dev's A Bollywood Affair was stronger than my dislike of the hero's fluctuating assholeness.

After that, I was in the mood to try another romance, so I read Jennifer Cruise's What the Lady Want. I did not enjoy it as much as I have some of her other books, at her worst she seems to at least be very readable. And some of the off notes might be the age of the book (about 20 years old).

Inspired by a post by YHLee, I pulled a favorite off the shelf, Tanya Huff's Sing the Four Quarter. In high school I thought of Huff as a budget Mercedes Lackey, and could line up every Huff series with an equivalent Lackey setting. With greater appreciation for certain things, I now find it the other way around, and would rather read a fluffy Huff (which this is) and adore her casual LGBT and polyamory.

Lawnchair left for Walnut Valley this morning, so I get to amuse myself. My spinning is currently halted by the loss of an end and I'm almost done with my current book, so I went down to the library to pick up what was on my hold shelf, including Volume 1 of Lumberjanes. As I was leaving the library, decided rather than sweat in my stuffy house, I'd rather just sit outside and read Lumberjanes. Which I did, enjoying the breezes and people watching. That was nice, and now I have to figure out how to get a hold of the rest of the series.

Reading: I skipped the two assassins books, and am currently reading Huff's The Quartered Sea. I'm about a chapter from finishing, so should be done this evening.

To Read: The other two books I picked up at the library are Naomi Novik's Uprooted (which was recommended the last time I had nothing to read), and Seth Dickinson's The Traitor Baru Cormorant.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: I finished Spinning in the Old Way and Start Spinning by Maggie Casey, and started on the Fall 2015 Ply magazine. The focus this issue is on texture, which really isn't my thing. And I'm not sure what I think about the new organization of the magazine.

Spinning: Making progress. I'm now plying the merino, which is going to take forever.

Last Tuesday, I received a tester bobbin from Akerworks. They make 3D printed bobbins and spindles. It's pretty, but doesn't work well on the Traveler. It binds and so pulls hard. It works fine on my Hitchhiker. I should post my results on the ravelry thread.

I made a small test sample of the alpaca/silk before starting plying the merino, and then knitted some of it. I really like the look, but tempted to replace the silk ply with silk thread, like orenburg lace.

My local yarn/spinning/weaving shop has a team for the first time, and somehow that was enough to actually sign up for Spinzilla this year (first week in October). And that spinning is my focus this year, and I'm up for dropping everything (except work and sleep) and spinning for a week. And it's the week after Yarn School (three day spinning workshop). Then I realized that Ann Leckie and Kameron Hurley's latest novels drop that Tuesday. At least I get 20% off spinning fiber at Yarn Barn until then.

Dyeing: Through guild, heard about a variegated yarn dyeing class, so last Saturday I drove out to a nearby alpaca farm and made pretty colors. I successfully held my tongue most of time when the instructor said incorrect things (mordant does not come from the latin word to open, neither does mortician). I learned some interesting things (people who go into alpacas ususally have more money then I do) and have two pretty skeins to do something with...
affreca: (Books)
After several mostly headache free weeks, this has been one full of rebounds, usually hitting after work. Maybe I can sleep it off this nice long weekend.

Read: Summary for the last week and half is alternating exciting fast reads and slogging through the Exordium series. After putzing my way through and finishing The Phoenix in Flight, I started on the second book, but decided my dislike of the handling of Ozmi made me resentful enough to drop the series.

Instead I finished When a Scot Ties the Knot, Tessa Dare's cracky not at all accurate historical romance. And Friday, when I was cranky about sewing, I broke down and bought Bujold's self-published novella, Penric's Demon, which was just the fluff I needed to reset my mood. Tuesday was a good release day, with two books I was excited for. First up was Seanan McGuire's A Red-Rose Chain, the latest October Daye book. Nice quick popcorn urban fantasy.

Now, I've just finished Zen Cho's Sorcerer to the Crown. She's one of the few author's that I've searched out her short fiction, partially because I have a small fascination with Malaysia (due to last year's trip) and partially because I love her earnestly light tone. The romance aspect reminds me strongly of her The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo, but then again I love the romances in Barbara Hambly's books even if they're all very similar.

Next up: The problem with reading the books I like quickly is then I'm out of books. Maybe I should reread some Hambly?
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
Reading: Finished the fall Spin-Off, so back to Spinning in the Old Way. Very nice and clear, and making me want to more on my spindle. But the wheel is so addicting..

Spinning: Almost done with the lilac merino, maybe by Friday? So I spent to much of today plotting the next spinning project instead of working. Thin two ply with one ply done in variegated silk (misty theme of lilacs to blues, to be dyed during the dye day at the end of the month), and the other using dark grey alpaca I bought at Woolfest (and blended grey angora from Lisi for the last ounce or so). Plan would be to use it to knit a shawl. Or I could dye the silk dark greens.

Knitting: Alpaca hat finished, nothing new started.

Weaving: So I chickened out on giving the blanket away at the baby shower. I wasn't happy with my sewing, and not in the mood to undo/redo right away. Blanket shall be shipped.
affreca: (Craft)
But I have a really good excuse for being late - it was that time of the quarter again. See, I have a couple of meetings every quarter. And one of them starts at 6 p.m. in a town on the other end of the state, so I don't get home until after my bedtime. The good news is that since they won't pay overtime, I only have to show up for three hours of work on Friday, so hopefully I have time to sew the edging on the baby blanket before Saturday's baby shower.

Reading: Finished The Whole Craft of Spinning by Carol Kroll. Woot! Not that it was a bad book, just that I didn't seem to get through it quickly. Blogging about it every week affects how I think of the pace of my reading. I should remember that the goal is to read some, not to finish a specific amount. But there were some interesting things that I haven't seen in other books. She seemed to be in the spin everything crowd, including dog and cat hair. And corn silk and thistle down. Pretty sure I'm not in that crowd. (this in comparison to one of the first spinning books I read that recommended possum fur. Turns out the author was in New Zealand and their possums are a very different creature from the opossum's that raid my trash. Creatures with soft fur).

So I started Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts, which is focused on top whorl spindles. Gorgeous line drawings, and I like her focus on traditions of the wider world. A little evangelical that her way is the best, though.

Then the Fall Spin-Off showed up, and I started reading those articles instead. I should figure out what I'm doing about the Summer issue that never showed up (I emailed Interweave and was told they were going to extend my subscription, but the completist in me wants the Summer issue).

Spinning: Still on the merino, as I spent last weekend weaving. You know, spinning fine takes forever for the same weight of fiber.

Knitting: Three rows to finish the alpaca silk hat. Then what? Maybe try for socks?

Weaving: Started weaving blanket with light blue yarn and hated the look. Experimented with multiple yarns in the stash and decided it needed a dark blue weft. I had luck with mill ends at Yarn Barn, and found a dark blue cotton yarn of the appropriate weight and bought twice as much as I needed. After weaving the blanket, I wove about 12 inches of the remaining warp with a random ball out of the stash. I think that length will go to work on my plant shelf. I decided to sew binding on all the edges instead of tying fringe as apparently babies chew and choke on fringe.
affreca: (Books)
I didn't post last week because I really wasn't thrilled about anything I tried. I'd bounced off a romance, then the first of the two books I bought when they came out that Tuesday (Kate Elliott's Court of Five starts of with horrid infodumping). I enjoyed the other new book (Aliette de Bodard's House of Shattered Wings), but it wasn't thrilling me.

The excitement drought extended to today, when a review at Smart Bitches let me know that Tessa Dare had a new romance out. I'm four chapters in, amazed at the crazy plot, and plan to ignore the rest of the world and binge read tonight.
affreca: (Books)
Read: I did put down the previous book and read N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season. With the two days of road tripping and social obligations when I got to New Jersey, I could only read in small bits. I was eager to fly home, partially so I'd finally have a block of time to read.

And I loved it. Someone wrote me geologic fantasy! (With only one bit of example of messing up terminology in a way that annoyed me). I told Graydown that she has to drop whatever she is reading so I have someone to burble at. Rocks!

Reading: Back to Phoenix in Flight.

To Read: I worry that I'm not excited enough to get through a five book space opera, and might drop it for a fluffy romance.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: Since I was out of town for much of last week, I didn't get in a lot of before bed reading. Therefore, despite its size, I'm still working through The Whole Craft of Spinning by Carol Kroll.

Spinning: I'm still in the first 2 ounces of the merino singles. I did take a break and spun some of the second color and plied up some mini test skeins to see how I wanted to deal with the two colors. The two ply of the same colors ended up looking like a regular two ply, while have different colored singles in the two ply leads to the chain look.

I packed my Turkish spindle with the silk so I could spin while traveling. I really didn't do much more than five minutes each night, so not much new. But it counts for the spin every day goal.

Knitting: I'm almost to the decreases in the alpaca hat. Not sure how much I like the pattern.

Social: KVFG meeting tonight. Showed off my projects, scheduled dye day for end of September. Showed off my projects. Some new ladies, we'll see if they keep coming.
affreca: (Books)
Read: Finished The Price of Valour over the weekend. I'm torn on how I feel about how much he followed the French revolution. On one hand, I hate how it has become the short hand for terror the mobs (because it isn't the only example you can pull from in history), but I like how he handles the Napoleon counterpart. I do love Winter, though half her problems come from sleeping with her subordinate.

Reading: I'm to exciting part of Phoenix in Flight. But the latest by N.K. Jemison (The Fifth Season) downloaded last night, so I think I might put the reread on hold to read the exciting new thing

Up Next: Back to the Exordium books.
affreca: (Craft)
Reading: I finished The Spinner's Book of of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns on Wednesday. I then started Step-By-Step Spinning and Dyeing by Eunice Svinicki. I read the first few chapters but skipped the chapter on natural dyeing (last year's focus) and projects because... See this book was so very 1970s, and that's not my aesthetic. Currently reading another skinny one, The Whole Craft of Spinning by Carol Kroll

Spinning: Continued the green woolen practice. I'm out of batts, so the next bit will be carded off the a variety of green rovings.

I also plied the merino/tencel into a cable/cord/(different books name it different - 2x2 plies z s z). I'm surprised how little green you see (only one of the four is green). It's a weird looking yarn, especially with the shininess of the tencel.

Sunday I started some singles of Malabrigo Nube merino. This is my first time using this roving, and I'm finding a lot of nubs. Which is annoying, because I'm trying to go even finer than the last project. The eventual plan for the singles is another cabled yarn, this time for socks. Spinning this fine takes forever.

Knitting: I decided to start another hat with the alpaca/silk that I keep recycling (I knitted it into a scarf, never used it, ripped it to make a hat, which did not fit, and so I try again). Similar style so, but with a different lace pattern. I've been to save it for the road trip. I'm taking another ball with me, but I don't know what I want to do with it.
affreca: (Books)
Read: Last week, my leaving the office conversation with coworker A included a discussion of local bookstores versus the ease of buying ebooks. Somehow she mentioned Django Wexler as an author worth buying immediately when I new book came out. I've been curious about his books since I was on an anime panel with him and he said intelligent things. As I didn't have anything else lined up to read, I bought his The Thousand Names on the ride home (we live in the future). I moderately enjoyed it and its sequel, but I love the character Winter. I wish I could articulate why (though the scene when she declares that she would never mock a farce again for having contrived circumstances as she lets her superior officer think that she is a man pretending to be a woman rather than letting him know that she really is a man is awesome).

Reading: And I'm into book three, The Price of Valour. Still loving Winter, mostly enjoying the book. Based on the foreword, I fear that there are two more books in the series that are not released yet.

Next: Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge released book five of the revised Exordium series (the final book). I read the original versions of the books a while ago (I have vague memories of it reading them in the bed corner of my studio apartment), but I've been holding off on reading the revised books until I could read them all in one go. So fun space opera next!
affreca: (Craft)
Delayed post due to a site visit and the resultant migraine (to much sun).

Reading: Still working my way through Sarah Anderson's The Spinner's Book of of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns. I might have to experiment with oddball yarns here soon.

Spinning: Practicing carding and long draw. I've managed a bobbin's worth of inconsistent woolen singles. I like to think I'm getting more control, but..

Knitting: Finished the hat (except for blocking). I haven't decided on a new project, but I should probably pick one out before next week's road trip. Not sure if I should cast on another hat or go back to the brown scarf. Am I brave enough to start the merino sweater?
affreca: (Craft)
Next attempt at regularly updating.. doubt it will last. Since I did pretty good last year with focusing on naturally dyeing, I decided that I would focus on spinning this year. The goal is to spin and read from my spinning books a little every day. Despite deciding this in November, I didn't start spinning until halfway through January. I'm trying not to kick myself to much on days I don't spin, but I have a spindle project "started" so I can spin even if I'm traveling.

Reading: Currently working my way through Sarah Anderson's The Spinner's Book of of Yarn Designs: Techniques for Creating 80 Yarns.. I like the tips and pictures, and it is pretty comprehensive. She doesn't go into yarn stability as much as Jacey Boggs did in Spin Art (the last spinning book I finished), but I like that she gives examples of how the yarn looks knitted and spun.

Spinning: I finished the merino sweater spinning a week and a half ago. Hopefully it turns out to be more yarn than I need for a sweater (3.5 lbs of roughly sport weight).

I'm mostly a worsted spinner, so I decided to practice long draw. I'd collected bits of green wools, and started carding them into rolags. I lasted a day trying to woolen spin before switching to the blue Bonkers (Tencel/Merino). I'd split it into thirds for a three ply, but I'd found a length of Bonkers in green so the new plan is to make a four ply cable (inspired by the Boggs book). I finished the singles on Sunday, and so I'm back to long draw practice, on the hitchhiker to see if that works better.

Knitting: Thanks to [personal profile] thistleingrey (who I also stole the idea for Fiber Tuesday from), I found a new hat pattern to try, Meret. It has the one design element I'm currently looking for in my hats, room for my bun. I started it with light blue handspun meriboo, and got halfway through before realizing that I didn't have enough yardage. I thought there was a second ball in my stash. Instead I found a ball of dark blue meriboo (half knitting into a scarf), and a small ball of teal meriboo. So, ripped out all the stitches and restarted the hat with stripes of blue. Also made a beautiful set of matching stitch markers, because that's how I roll (and people keep telling me that I should incorporate the marker beads into the hat, but I think they're to big.

Social: Last Friday was KVFG's annual retreat (name changed from sleep over because some people think retreat sounds more grown up). I have managed to put off the dye day with the excuse that 95F is to damn hot), so September. Should be able to clean the house by then. Had a great time bonding with the ladies. There was definitely interest in PlyAway, and M's pile of roving made Harveyville Yarn School sound tempting. If I wasn't trying to save all my leave for Peru....
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
Another recipe. Despite the heat, I was craving a roast chicken. And I had overipe peaches to use.

2 potatoes
1 onion
3 peaches
garlic cloves
1 5.5 lb chicken
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp rose water

Cut up potatoes, onion and peaches, and place in bottom of roasting pan with garlic cloves (peaches on top). Place chicken on top. Melt butter, honey, salt and rose water in microwave and paint over chicken. Cook pan for 1 hour at 400 F. Pour out drippings to make into gravy. Nom..
affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)
I've been bad about posting anything. Life is normal, work is fine. Last week I drove out to San Francisco with two friends (one will studying there for the summer). I tried to take some photos.
affreca: (Tongue)
Well, recipe experiment time again. This time I'm clearing out freezer space so I can kill some wool moths that seem to have made it to my roving bin. I should also try to turn the tomatoes into sauce, but that's Lawnchair's job (I hate the smell of boiling tomatoes).

2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground coriander (or as much as you have in the spice cabinet)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (and then despair when you declare that you've run out of cinnamon and learn about the giant 1 pound jar that someone has hidden in the high shelf)
1 (7 pound) bone in picnic pork shoulder
1 4 oz can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
juice of 1 clementine

Mix spices and rub over roast. Stuff into crock (if you can, next time I will not buy this large of a pork roast), and refrigerate until ready to cook. Cook on low until meat falls apart, approximately 10 hrs. Remove meat and shred.

To make burritos, fry up your portion and small amount of cut onion in a skillet for approximately 2 minutes (you're looking to make a bit of crispyness). Place in warmed tortilla with whatever other fixings you want (I used avacado and queso fresco). Probably would also be good over a rice bowl.


affreca: Cat Under Blankets (Default)

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