Life · This and That

Bread, Glorious Bread!

Sourdough Bread #1

I had no plan to learn to make bread from scratch this year, but I just did. It all started with a challenge. Troy and our friend Joe told me that I could make my own sourdough bread if I wanted to. Our friend Matt does. Told them that I’m sure I could but the thought of all the germs and bacteria growing in the starter that are there for the eating kind of turned me off (I’m a bit of a germophobe, you see). Then they started scolding me, telling me that human race has been eating bacterial poop since the dawn of time and we’re still alive and kicking and that all the germs and bacteria will die in the 500F oven and on and on they went.

Fast forward to the next day, there I was, a germophobe and totally not a big fan of bread, in the kitchen, making not one, but TWO sourdough starters that I had to try to fill with germs bacteria which I’m supposed to keep alive for, like, ever. I just kept telling myself that I’m doing this because Troy loves sourdough bread and I love Troy (I do!). Anyway, I made one of the starters with flour, milk, honey, and a bit of yeast and called it Yeasty McGee (recipe). The other one was made of just flour and water and I called it Floury McWaterson (recipe)

Floury McWaterson is how you’d conventionally make a sourdough bread starter. You try to catch the yeast floating around in the air and then grow it in the starter for at least 11 days. Yeasty McGee is more like the I-Just-Want-Something-Quick kind since by the fourth day, it’s ready to use for baking bread. By the fourth day of its growth, Floury McWaterson was alive and bubbling but then I made the mistake of transferring it into a sterilized glass jar that was still warm, warm enough to kill all the bacteria in it. RIP, Floury McWaterson. :( On the bright side, at least Yeasty McGee was still alive.

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Life

My Grandma Diana

Index

When I go thrifting, I am really drawn to Things That Could’ve Belonged to Someone’s Grandma™. You see, the only grandmother I ever knew died when I was 3 years old. She was my grandma from my mother’s side. Her name was Diana. I only got to know her through the stories my mother told me. Her mantra, that later became my mum’s and now has become mine, was “if you don’t have a lot of money, you have to have a lot of ideas.” It was a necessary mantra for my grandma to have, since she had to raise a bunch of kids (I think she and my grandpa had 7 or 8 9 offsprings, only 6 survived, all girls) in a time of war when food was scarce. I remember my mum telling me about how they used to have to split one chicken egg between her and her sisters at mealtime when they were kids.

My grandma was a homemaking teacher. I like to think that I got my craftiness from her. Well, my mum was pretty crafty, too. I guess it’s in the gene and I inherited that gene. But still, I can’t help wishing I’d inherited something less abstract from her to have as a keepsake. Hence my fascination with Things That Could’ve Belonged to Someone’s Grandma™, which is a little ironic considering my grandma never had much in terms of worldly possessions. But she could’ve. She could’ve had that recipe card box in the picture above in her kitchen and the handwriting on the recipe cards could’ve been hers.

If my grandma were alive, she’d be 100 years old on May 24. And you know what? I’m going to celebrate it. I don’t know yet how, but I am going to give her a lovely centennial.

Crafts · Film · Life · Photography · This and That

Live and Learn

Cracked

I love learning to do new things. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I look back. This year I’m hoping to:

  • Learn to draw;
  • Learn to make cute shrinky dinks out of my drawings;
  • Learn to make negatives out of Fuji instant film;
  • Maybe learn to knit.

I said maybe to knitting because I still find it daunting, but I’ve got a couple of friends and my mother-in-law offering to teach me how to knit so we’ll see about it. I do have a big stash of yarn to burn from my venture into the wonderful world of crochet last year.

I just ordered three books to help me teach myself how to draw. They’re all by Sachiko Umoto. I like her drawing style. Troy also says that he has Drawing for the Artistically Undiscovered by Quentin Blake somewhere among the piles of books in the basement that he’ll dig out for me. Quentin Blake is known for his quirky drawings in various Roald Dahl‘s books and I do enjoy his style.

As for shrinky dinks, well, I was first inspired by a blog post and then of course my new favourite TV show, Raising Hope, has to feature shrinky dinks in its fourth episode that I just watched last night. It’s like the universe is trying to tell me something, and I’m listening! :)

I started shooting with a vintage Polaroid Land Model 100 last year. Polaroid no longer made the film for it but luckily, Fujifilm does. With the camera, I’ve been shooting Fujifilm FP-100C instant film, which is a peel apart film. I’ve always found the part that you peel off and throw away to be such a waste. But then I found out that you can actually make a negative out of it with a little help from a household bleach product! Of course I have to learn how to do it. Even more so now that I’ve got an instant film back for my Hasselblad. Having a negative to your shots is always a good thing.

Are you still awake? Good. I was worried for a bit there. :) And this is the part in which I don’t know how to end a blog post. I think I’ll just end it with a “Fin” a la French movies. Oh là là!

Fin.

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Operation Blog Revival 2011

First Day of 2011

While willing myself to sleep last night, I came up with a 6-Step Program to Revive A Blog In Limbo(tm) or you can call it Operation Blog Revival 2011 if you will. It’s intended for slacking bloggers such as myself who wish they could blog every day like the cool kids do (or like they used to do) but find going from barely one post in two months to 7 posts a week just a wee bit drastic and a little hard to do. I figured doing it in 6 steps in a span of a year would be more habit-forming and would result in less chance of relapsing into blog slacktivity.
So without further ado, here’s the proposed 6-step program:

Step 1: In January, start blogging once a week.
Step 2: In March, start blogging twice a week.
Step 3: In May, start blogging three times a week.
Step 4: In July, start blogging four times a week.
Step 5: In September, start blogging five times a week.
Step 6: In November, start blogging six times a week. Unless you join the NaBloPoMo, in which case, you may want to take it a step further and start blogging every day of the week.

When January 2012 comes, in theory, you’ll find blogging every day a piece of cake. I said “in theory” because, well, I only came up with it last night! There is no proof or guarantee that it’s going to work but it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth trying.

What constitutes a blog post, you ask? Anything is fair game! A story, photos/videos, or even a link. Though if it’s a link, you may want to elaborate a little about the what and why. Nobody wants to click on a link blindly. Not in this era of web trojans and viruses (virii?) anyway.

Nobody is going to enforce the number of post a week rule but yourself. If you feel comfortable updating your blog once a week then by all means, keep at it! Only follow the whole 6 steps if your goal is to blog every day, which is what I’m trying to do.

So, who’s with me? I’ve started a Facebook page in case anyone would like to join so we can remind each other to post, share ideas for a blog post and other fun stuff. Happy blogging and happy new year!