January 25, 2007
show and tell
Peter and I used to know some people who would talk constantly, in every social situation, about gadgets and the things they had bought recently and, most especially, why-my-toys-are-cooler-than-your-toys. To make fun of those people and their (to us) vapid, boring conversations, we would sometimes begin a conversation with the phrase "I have nothing interesting to say, so let me show you what I bought".
Ahem. Beautiful new handmade necklace, bought with birthday money:
It's porcelain, purchased on etsy from lusterbunny. I couldn't resist the printmakerly aesthetic, and want to collect more of her work (I have another necklace from her as well, and a supercool fridge magnet with a dirty picture on it).
If you look closely to the right of the necklace you can see my two identical white scars, both gained at age thirteen in grade nine. I've long since forgotton which is which, but one is from chicken pox and the other is from a cigarette burn. Don't having chicken pox and smoking cigarettes seem like things a kid really shouldn't be experiencing at the same age?
Bic pens, bought at Office Max in Athens, GA. Notice anything strange about the box?
I'll give you a hint: Americans (most of them, anyway) don't speak French. I was back in the studio opening the box up when I realized that the French was out of place here, being from a bilingual country and all it didn't really register at first. I know it's just a way to save the cost of printing two different packages for the domestic market and for export, but it made me happy for a moment nonetheless, to imagine that perhaps a little bit of our culture is seeping into theirs for a change. Fat chance, I know.
And here's something I cooked tonight:
The most remarkable thing about this dish is that it is not edamame; bags of frozen edamame were on sale at Kroger this week, and in the last six nights I have had it for supper five times (it would have been six but I had to work late in the studio on Monday night and so ate studio food for supper). AND, yesterday I went back and bought six more bags; Peter thinks I may be headed for an overdose.
I've never really cared for pickled beets, but my pal Krista told me they were very good roasted, so tonight I gave this a try: two beets, two small potatoes, three carrots, an onion and some garlic all chopped into a shallow casserole dish, sprinkled with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil and kosher salt and roasted for 70 minutes (uncovered for the first 40 minutes and then I got worried and threw some tin foil on top for the last 30). It was very tasty, and I love how the beets spread their joyous red over everything in sight. I have a brand-new comfort meal.
I've got new knits to show, two cardigans in progress and three more finished Calorimetries (nope, not sick of them yet. I'm thinking perhaps a faggoting pattern in a cotton would be just the thing for spring, which in this freakish place should be starting in about two weeks from now). I also have a new knit-related drawing project I keep forgetting to photograph, and some exciting print-related news. But I'll save all of these things for later, the latter for when I have all of the information and the rest when I can get arsed to take some photos.
January 23, 2007
week one editions
These were finished up on Sunday afternoon; I don't really have much to say about them right now, but I'm messing around with imagery ideas for a book I'll begin working on soon, and using the editioning challenge as an opportunity to try out some of those ideas. By necessity, many of the prints for this challenge will be small, in order that the constant need to make editions not overshadow my other work (which is all larger and more labour-intensive). These two prints are approximately six by nine inches.
And, psst. . . the spring Interweave preview is up. You can't see my project (or some of the others) very well, but it looks like a good issue overall. First in the queue, I think, will be Eunny's socks, because only Eunny can make frumpy old entrelac look so freaking HOT.
January 21, 2007
a good day
This morning I got up early and made bran muffins, only scarfing down one with breakfast instead of the three or four I'm usually tempted to eat when they're hot from the oven. Because I spilled water all over the slip of paper the recipe's scrawled on, and inspired by Peter (who has begun archiving on his blog all of the things we like to cook whose recipes, no matter how many times we write them out and stick them on the fridge door, always go missing), I'm posting it here for next time. It's essentially the same bran muffins my mom always made when I was a kid, but of course I've tinkered with it a bit:
3/4 cup oil
2 cups soy milk
3/4 cup sugar (the original recipe called for a cup, but I prefer less; today I used turbinado sugar as I'm trying to quit the white stuff)
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
flax seed: I usually grind up a handful, probably between two and three tablespoons, then also add two tablespoons of seeds whole just because they look pretty. Today I left the flax out as my pantry was less than adequately prepared for muffin-making.
Mix up all the dry together and all the wet together,throw one into the other and don't mix any more than is necessary. Fill buttered muffin tins about 2/3 full and bake at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes.
In my opinion, these are best enjoyed one of two ways: straight out of the oven when they're almost too hot to eat, slathered with about twice as much butter as is healthy, or later during a break in your morning work, alongside a cup of tea brewed in a new little teapot sent by a kind and thoughtful friend:
If any natural light ever makes it into this house I'll show you all of the contents of the sweet little care package Bonnie sent: this pot, some lovely teas for me to try, some wee notes, cute little soy sauce squirty bottles for my lunch box, one of Cara's beautiful note cards, and cup ramen! (yup, it's all Naruto all the time around here, folks).
Other things that made this a good day:
-On my way out the door I discovered that in wrangling my bike in and out of Jessica's car last night, the chain came sort of half-off and got wedged very tightly into a terrible spot. Even though I know next to nothing about bikes (okay, who am I fooling? I know nothing about bikes, nothing at all) I didn't panic and I didn't cry. I examined it carefully, figured out where it needed to go, loosened some things, and fixed it. Myself. And then rode to studio feeling stupidly proud for managing such a small job. But, listen! If that had happened at home I would have cried and then made Peter fix it. So, I'm almost like a real cyclist now! I did almost cry though, just for a second.
-I made good prints today, just in time to meet my first deadline for the editioning challenge. Pictures at eleven.
-Sarah Harmer's You Were Here. I love that record so much. Yes, I want to marry it.
-I rode my bike home in the cold rain and got completely soaked. Again, I felt like a real cyclist (instead of someone who bikes when the weather's okay and cadges a lift when it's not, or when she's just too big a baby to ride home in the dark at night, like what happened last night).
-Because my trousers were drenched when I arrived at the house, I got to put my pyjama pants on at 4:30 in the afternoon, so now I'm all cozy and coddled-feeling. Hooray for kittycat flannel pants!
-While waiting for my supper to I got to talk to StephVW on Skype! I really only use Skype to talk with Peter, and don't talk on the phone much with anyone from home because it's so much more expensive than e-mailing, so it was great to chat with a friend about silly stuff and to hear an accent kinda like mine. I always say Steph's name in my head as "Steph fow vay", like Volkswagen.
-Oven fries and edamame for supper. Only half healthy but totally delicious.
-Exclamation points! I can use as many as I want!!
-Skype date with Peter tonight. Those are the best nights. Well, the best nights when I'm in Athens and Peter is not, but y'all know what I mean; the best nights are the red hot nobody else is in the house so let's make some noise nights, but I'm not letting myself think about when we'll have another one of those. It might spoil my otherwise good day.
January 16, 2007
lookit this lookit this!
I'm trying not to get my hopes up here, folks. If I have to freeze my ankles riding my bike in the wet cold and don't even get to see some wintry mix for my suffering, it'll be a sad Thursday. Plus this might be one of those jokes like when the guy on NPR in the morning said there was a 100% chance of rain and it was sunny and HOT all day. I'm not entirely sure that the phrase "wintry mix" means the same thing in Georgia that it means in normal places where people know what winter is. But, still! Wintry mix! Maybe they'll panic and shut the whole university down and I can go outside and play all day. In the wintry mix. Woo!
January 15, 2007
getting adventurous in the kitchen
And I'm not talking about getting down with the root vegetables. Because, when you think about it, getting down with root vegetables is actually pretty vanilla.
I'm not here to tell you about the stuff on the plate, although it's quite yummy. I want to talk about what's in the bowl, the stuff that looks like chunky baby poo. Because I'm not embarrassed to admit that if baby poo tasted like this stuff, I'd eat diapers.
A few nights ago I made a fine supper of vegetable tawa (that's the leftovers there on the plate) and tamarind rice, all from mixes (Peter's departmental secretary, who is of South Asian descent, turned us on to Parampara brand mixes, and they are really good, so good that I may never bother making Indian dishes from scratch ever again).
Somehow, even though rice was probably the first thing I ever learned how to cook and there have been periods in my life where every single meal I ate (even breakfast) was served on top of rice, I put in too much water this time and it was mushy. Still tasty underneath the tawa, but when I reheated some of the leftovers at the studio the next day it wasn't so appealing.
I've never been the sort of cook who will add food to leftovers or cook something new out of them rather than eating them as-is, partly because I have a (perhaps unreasonable) fear that it will all end up tasting like the bland tomato-and-ground-beef based diet that some of my friends growing up in the 70s ate, and that my house will end up smelling like the house of one particular neighbour kid, whose mom I swear only cooked things you could make with hamburger meat and Campbell's tomato soup. And also, I'm afraid that I'll forget how old the original food is and end up eating something past its sell-by date. So, too-mushy rice is the sort of thing I'll usually leave in the fridge until it's too old to eat and then throw it out. But, being on a tight budget right now, I don't want to waste food.
I was staring at the big solid clump of leftover rice when a memory tugged at me, of a recipe for a sweet congee that I tore out of the Globe and Mail oh, eleventy or so years ago, made once and hated. All I could remember was that congee was made by cooking rice with way too much water and then adding stuff. So I broke apart the slab of rice and tossed it in a pot and started adding stuff, just anything I could think of that might be yummy and not gross. Plain soy milk. Two tablespoons of brown sugar. A splash of vanilla extract, only because I found it there while digging for the sugar and didn't even realize I had any. A bit of nutmeg, a bigger bit of cardamom. And two dollops of tamarind chutney. I cooked it all down, tasted it and saw that it was good. Very, very good: not too sweet (I'm much more of a savoury girl, and don't usually go in for dessert unless it's fresh fruit), a little tangy, a little spicy.
Turns out rice congee is usually a savoury dish, so perhaps next time I'll make some on purpose, rather than just using it to fix a mistake, and try vegetables, and miso (miso is my current food crush). Still, this is going to make a pretty nice breakfast for the next few days. I wonder if it would be good with yogurt?
So. If you want to make my tamarind-cardamom sweet congee, you could probably skip the puliogare powder and just do this:
1 cup rice (I used basmati)
5 to 7 cups water
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cardamom powder
2 tbsp tamarind chutney
Boil the rice in the water until it's mushy and fallen apart, then add all of the other stuff and cook it until it's the consistency you want. From what I've discovered about "real" congees, they're usually made with more like ten times the water to rice so they're a ricey soup, but according to Wikipedia the Japanese usually make it a lot thicker, with five to seven water to rice. This is more like what I did and it came out the consistency of rice pudding. You might need to use larger amounts of spices or chutney to offset the extra flavour that was in my rice when I started.
January 13, 2007
slow news day. but I knit something.
Calorimetry, from Winter 2006 Knitty, in Malabrigo unravelled from a terrible sweater idea that was going nowhere. This little headband took half a skein, and two hours to knit, and I love it. I've already made another today in merino I unravelled from one corner of my Clapotis (don't panic, friends, I'm not giving up on the Clap, it's just that I made it too short to wear as a scarf and too narrow to wear as a shawl and thus it never gets worn, so I'm going to reknit it more scarf-shaped. And have a kickass matching headbandy-thing). I also started a third headband in Noro Kureyon, which I hope won't be too itchy. I wasn't really all that interested in the pattern when I first saw it, but seeing Elabeth's changed my mind, and now I want six of them, at least. And perhaps a few smaller, lighter ones for summer that won't cover the ears. You know how sometimes you get hooked on a certain kind of food and it's all you want to eat every day? That's me and this pattern, baby. And I love the instant gratification.
Forecast is still without buttons, but I did find the last ball of yarn buried in the back of one of the lockers:
While I was home over the midwinter break I finished the sleeves at 3/4 length because I was out of yarn, but I'm going to keep them like that even though I now have enough for long sleeves. I think I can come up with something else to do with the leftover red yarn. Having put on Forecast, pinned it shut and looked at myself critically in the mirror, however, I think I'll unravel the body ribbing and reknit it without switching to the smaller needle. I had reservations about tight ribbing around my love handles and it appears I should follow my instincts. It's a pretty quick knit so I'm not too broken up about the extra work, and it will definitely be worth it. It's a really cute sweater, and I even like the bobbles. Take that, bobble-haters.
January 11, 2007
an edition a week
CONTRACT No. 00000000001
AGREEMENT BETWEEN JODI LEE GREEN and JESSICA ANN MILLS
THIS AGREEMENT, made on the 11th day of January 2007 between Jodi Lee Green [hereafter referred to as “Affiliate #1”] and Jessica Ann Mills [hereafter referred to as “Affiliate #2”] covers the period from January 11th, 2007 to May 7th, 2007 [hereafter referred to as “Spring Semester 2007”].
WHEREAS Affiliate #1 and Affiliate #2 agree to complete one edition of prints each calendar week for the duration of Spring Semester 2007.
WHEREAS each calendar week is defined for the purposes of this agreement as beginning on Monday and concluding on Sunday.
WHEREAS the first calendar week for the purposes of this agreement begins on January 15th 2007.
WHEREAS the week of March 19th to March 26th is not to be considered a “week” for the terms of this agreement due to expected attendance of Affiliate #1 and Affiliate #2 at Southern Graphics Council 2007 Conference [hereafter referred to as “SGC”].
WHEREAS Affiliates #1 and #2 agree, in lieu of completing one edition between March 19th and March 26th, to take part in Open Portfolio at SGC and to otherwise avail themselves of any and all marketing and networking opportunities offered therewithin.
WHEREAS “edition” is defined for the purposes of this document as consisting of no fewer than five  prints of any acceptable print medium.
WHEREAS “print” is defined for the purposes of this document as being a reproducible work on paper of any size.
WHEREAS “acceptable print media” include intaglio, lithography, relief, digital output printing, silkscreen, trace monotype, xerography and collagraph. Drawing will be accepted for the purposes of this agreement if used in combination with any one or more of the above media and every attempt is made to maintain consistency throughout the edition.
WHEREAS if either Affiliate fails to meet the terms of this agreement for any given week that person will be mocked mercilessly and be forced to listen to the other Affiliate’s music without complaint for the calendar week immediately following the transgression being punished, and further must purchase for the other Affiliate one  slice of Vegan Chocolate Death Cake [hereafter referred to as “the Cake”] or a suitable substitute if the Cake is not available that week. Acceptable Substitutes will be agreed to by the parties concerned at the time of the payment. If the Affiliate receiving the Cake prefers to have pudding instead even if the Cake is available this is at the discretion of said Affiliate.
Signed on this day, the 11th day of January 2007, in the presence of witnesses.
January 07, 2007
brought to you by the letter "p"
projects. promises. and a little procrastination.
Yesterday we spent the better part of the day cleaning out the undergraduate printmaking studio to prepare for the new term; I had thought it was going to rain all day so I accepted my colleague's offer of a ride, and it turned out to be sunny and 70 degrees, perfect for bike riding. Today it's rainy and cold, so instead of going in to the studio as I'd planned, to write and print out a syllabus for the course I'm teaching, I'm staying in the house. So, have I been responsible and written my syllabus already? Yeah, right. I slept off a migraine all morning, now I'm going to knit and watch some Naruto.
I have decided to make a resolution, of sorts, after all. As I was saying earlier, this is the semester when I could really allow myself to slack off if I'm not careful. But instead it should be the semester in which I experiment and play and just make prints like crazy. So Jessica and I are going to sign a contract with each other, to complete an edition of prints (minimum edition size: 5) every week, starting next week and ending when the semester ends. This means we'll each have about seventeen editions of prints by the middle of May, although we'll probably give ourselves the week off when we go to SGC, so let's say sixteen. I think this should be doable, especially considering the way I work, reusing the same woodblocks and layering the same elements in new combinations. I'm also going to re-establish my relationship with my old boyfriend, lithography, and he's an instant gratification kind of guy, quick and dirty. I've been bad lately for finishing up one print for critique and leaving the rest of the edition to finish later (which means never), and this might break me of that habit.
The other old love I'm going to be rekindling is etching. I've got two shiny new 24 x 36 inch copper plates waiting for me in the studio and I'm pretty excited; I've never really done a lot of copper etching before, only zinc. If I'm going to slack off and watch anime rather than prepare my syllabus then I should at least put the sweater down and knit something that I can soft ground transfer onto a plate instead. I think I can handle that even with the extra laziness brought on by the rain and my aching head.
Here's the last finished piece for 2006, my grandma's birthday scarf (yes, the one I was supposed to have finished for her birthday at the end of July):
It's about 3/4 of a skein of Misti Alpaca, and the pattern is a chevron lace (from our old friend Barbara Walker) in the end panels and something art deco-ish that I made up as I went along in the centre panel. I've been meaning to write up the pattern and post it here since xmas, but didn't want to take time out from my precious schedule of doing nothing all day with Peter by my side; now that I'm back at school, I'll try to get it done before the reading for my art history class gets too heavy.
I've all but finished Forecast, she's just waiting for buttons before she's unveiled. I'm itching for a photo shoot so if I can't get buttons soon I'll safety pin her up and show her to y'all anyway. I only had enough yarn for 3/4 sleeves, so I'm hoping it doesn't look funny; there's a chance there may be one more ball stuck in the yarn lockers somewhere but if so, it hasn't turned up yet (yes, I keep my yarn in lockers. Not full size school lockers, more the size of the ones at the bus station. They look more like school lockers though. Garbage-picked furniture is THE BEST).
After Forecast was off the needles, the night before I flew back to Athens I cast on for a new cardigan of my own design:
Of course, I foolishly believed that not only would I finish Forecast, finish my grandma's scarf and knit a pair of socks for Claire over the break, I also thought I would not only start this sweater but get so much work done on it that I felt the need to bring all the yarn for it home with me. I really ought to know by now, don't you think? I cast on for this the night before I left home, and all I really needed was one ball to get me through the airport (the ribbing) and knitting on the plane (one full repeat of the pattern, or one zig and one zag). Ah well. I didn't even open up the roll of Japanese paper I so carefully toted home on the plane, thinking I'd just start a 30 foot drawing in my free time over the break. Hah. Peter pretty much ordered me to list all of the projects I think I'll get done over the summer break and then only bring half of that home with me; I'm thinking a quarter might be more appropriate.
So, you want specs on the new sweater? It's Jo Sharp dk wool, wool that I bought so long ago I'd forgotten I had it so when it fell out of a locker one day it was like magic! The wobbly lace-and-cable stitch is one I've wanted to do for a long time: I had an awful, ugly, droopy cotton, frumpy, boxy pullover in this stitch (oh, and it was baby-poo beige, too, and long enough to cover my arse and then pull in at the hem so the belly bouffed out like a big ball; sex-ay!) that I wore anyway because I loved the pattern so much. I recently got paid for a design project and right away ordered Barbara Walker's stitch anthology #2 (having decided to pick up one more every time I get paid for a sweater until I have them all) and, lo and behold, this stitch was in it! And I was so excited!! The book showed up on the doorstep about 30 minutes before I left town to go home for the holiday and as I was flipping through it I squealed out loud, scribbled the pattern down in my pocket notebook and crammed the Jo Sharp yarn and some needles into my already overstuffed suitcase. I was nearly peeing my pants with excitement, let me tell ya: I can finally have this stitch I love in a sweater that doesn't make me look like some matronly refugee from a Wham video.
This will be a fitted little cardigan, with 3/4 sleeves, nice deep ribbing all around and a ribbed foldover collar. And big buttons to offset a wide ribbed button band. Some may say that lace in wool is a tad impractical, but I think for the south it will be perfect, especially during those months when they air-condition every building to such frigid temperatures that when you walk inside your teeth and skull ache and when you walk outside the heat hits you like a brick wall hits a crash test dummy and the sweat practically flies from your pores like great watery ribbons. Oh yeah, this sweater will be perfect for indoors on those days. When I get back home to a more reasonable climate, it'll be perfect for those late August evenings when you desperately want to keep eating supper out on the porch even though it's not really quite warm enough once the sun gets behind the tree. Not that I'll be sitting on my own porch in late August again until, oh, 2008. Sigh. But when August 2008 comes, baby, I'll be dressed for it.
January 05, 2007
I don't much go in for making life-changing promises tied to an arbitrary mid-winter date; for me the year still begins in September and ends in April, tied to the school year. Having just returned to Athens to begin a new semester, however, puts me in mind of making a few fresh starts. I'm not making any big promises either here or to myself, but I'd like to make some positive changes in the areas of diet, exercise and, uh, tidiness and general stuff-reduction; I'd like to try to become the sort of person who doesn't cling to deadlines, who gets things done on time, or early, and does not give up or let things slide or do anything half-assed. I'd like to spend less money on food and eat better, and I'd like to do my yoga more regularly so maybe my shoulders will stop hurting. Changing one of these things would make me happy, changing all of them would be a miracle. I met a big deadline in November with completing my continuance exam, and it would be easy to slack off now and waste the next four months: I'm hoping that by focusing on making positive changes in my daily routine and attitude I'll be able to stay on a high with the art-making and have a productive semester.
I put some new stuff up in my etsy shop today, some buttons, including these ones:
and these pamphlet stitch journals that I made last year some time:
I also put up a few new shirts but not all of them, because my photos are very bad and I need to reshoot them all with the tripod; I didn't know my hands were that shaky.