Food For The Eagle.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Links,Reflection | Monday 19 April 2010 12:04 pm

The Harvard Secular Society conferred lifetime achievement awards on MythBusters‘ Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman this weekend.  Adam proceeded to deliver an eloquent and inspiring speech, and I believe it is mandatory reading for anyone within sight of my voice here.

Go, read it now.


Don’t Label Me.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Friends,Homebrew,Links,Pictures,Promotion | Tuesday 6 April 2010 10:00 am

As I stated before, I’m homebrewing beer (and mead… and eventually hard cider, hard lemonade, and perry).  Never being one to do anything halfway (or easy, for that matter — not when I can overdo it!), I went beyond the simple brewing process, containing the precious liquid in recycled clean beer bottles.

I have have five distinct styles of beer bottles, each style to define a single batch of beer in matching vessels.  I have not just cleaned each bottle, but eradicated any and all trace of the original labels and packaging.  I stow them in matching boxes, some with custom-cut dividers to keep the bottles from rattling together.  I keep spares of each bottle style in case I break some, or more likely, never get them back after generously sending beer home with friends.  And, I’m making custom labels for each style of beer.

The name of my brewery is “Ol’ Shambler Brewery”, and all the beers are zombie themed (or in a pinch, generally ‘horror’ themed).  I have purchased labels specifically suited to the task of labeling beer bottles, complete with a die-cut neck label.  I then proceeded to enlist my obnoxiously talented friends to help me create not just a simple beer label, but custom works of art.

Martin Whitmore, whom I’ve pimped here many times, designed and illustrated the labels themselves.  Provided with the oddball name of the brew and a few nudges in the direction I wanted to go, he then proceeded to craft the perfect — and I do mean perfect — concept and illustration.  Marty already knows from zombies as they’re his specialty, but he went beyond simply drawing a zombie and brought life (ha!), character and the perfect amount of humor into the design.

Kim Gall — an award-winning pet portraitist — is a dynamite watercolor artist with just as wicked a sense of humor and style as Marty and I.  She brought the perfect atmosphere and tone to Marty’s illustrations, a nice sense of earthy gloom, and a whole new level of depth and spark.

The frames of the neck and main label were drawn separately from the internal artwork so that we could easily and simply draw a new figure for the center of each and add them in later, along with the text.  I was in charge of stitching all the elements together and working in the text.

As promised, here is the artwork for my first two styles of homebrew.

Ol' Shambler Brewery - Belgian Devil

The Belgian Devil is a Belgian golden ale, reminiscent of Duvel (which is Flemish for “devil”).  The idea was to have a guy in a devil Halloween  costume — something akin to a red hoodie with horns — but I had absolutely no way how to make him discernibly “Belgian”.  Marty pulled that big mustache from I-don’t-know-where, but by Jeebus, it sold the Belgian look.  It caught me off guard, and I choked from laughing.  Shambler, who has become the unofficial figurehead for Ol’ Shambler Brewery, is nobly gazing out from the center of the neck label through his milky, bloodshot eyes.

Ol' Shambler Brewery - Bayou Headsucker

The Bayou Headsucker is a kolsch — a German pale ale  — and has recently been dubbed a “lawnmower” beer, an unofficial name to describe beers that are light and refreshing, yet full bodied, without much hop bitterness, that are great for easy drinking on hot days (i.e. when you’re out mowing the lawn).  It was brewed very specifically to accompany this season’s crawfish boils, and is the perfect accompaniment to hot, spicy seafood.

Again, I didn’t have much of a concept for this label other than it really needed a coonass Cajun on there, and a swampy background.  The zombified crawfish sucking on the ol’ boy’s head so hard that his face inverted is sheer genius.  I also believe that the cypress trees hinted at in the background are an inspired touch, and I can’t imagine the piece would be complete without them.

And here are some “action shots” of the labeled bottles in the wild.

Ol' Shambler Brewery - Belgian DevilOl' Shambler Brewery - Belgian Devil

Ol' Shambler Brewery - Bayou HeadsuckerOl' Shambler Brewery - Bayou Headsucker

I look forward to more collaborative labels with these two.  Who knows, we may have some other guest artists chip in on future labels.  It’s a hell of a lot of fun.


Whassahappanin’, Hotstuff?

Posted by DmentD | Cakes,Coolness,Friends,Homebrew,Links,Promotion,Rambling,Site,Stress | Tuesday 30 March 2010 11:07 am

Much goings on… er, going on in the last few months.  Once more, and to no surprise to anyone, I have sadly not reported any of it here.

Let’s see.  First and foremost, Sweets got laid off from the bakery she was at — who took her on as an extern when she was in culinary school, then hired her to do cakes, couldn’t give her a lot of hours, then realized that they were perfectly happy using the free extern labor from the school instead, and let her go.  Tears and curses aside, it was a fantastic learning experience for her and gave us the motivation to…

… start taking the first steps to get Curious Confections off the ground.  The first serious steps.  We spruced up the site — making it more making it professional in appearance — added a menu, and lightened up some of the ambiguous language about actually making product for sale.

Sweets is going to make Curious Confections a part-time job for the interim, while maintaining a second part-time job at an established business.  I will be moonlighting after work hours and on weekends as a CC employee.  We’ve started getting a few orders in — some of them steady — and friends and co-workers have rallied to the cause by ordering stuff from us, and pressing our business cards into the palms of everyone they know.  The goal is to eventually get enough business to pay Sweets a salary, making CC her full-time job.

We need all the help we can get to make this first step successful, allowing us to grow and evolve to the next level, and then the level after that, ad infinitum.  We’re trying to maintain a fine balance between slow, steady growth so we don’t overextend our current reach, and reaching just far enough outside of our current comfort level to force us to evolve.  Just as too much water, sun and fertilizer can kill even a healthy plant — we don’t want to die on the vine from too much of a good thing burning us out too early.

Sweets is also taking the role of food blogger more seriously.  There are a few reasons behind this: foremost, she really enjoys writing about the stuff we make (out of pride and great satisfaction), it’ll help direct more traffic and attention to Curious Confections, it’ll bring her and CC to the attention of other food bloggers (many of them local), and she can be a part of a community of like-minded people (which is always a good thing).  A fresh audience and new friends can work wonders on so many levels.

All cake, baked goods, and Curious Confections related projects will henceforth be posed over there, and links to said posts will be posted here.  I may even pop in and write about the things I have my snobbery badges in: coffee, beer, homebrew, and South Louisiana food.

On the topic of homebrew, we have two batches of beer in bottles ready for consumption by this weekend: the Belgian Devil (a Duvel-like Belgian golden ale), and the Bayou Headsucker (a crisp, clean, refreshing kolsch ale).  The Headsucker was specifically brewed for the crawfish season this year, and our first boil is this Saturday.

You may have noticed the unusual beer names.  Good for you.  We’ve decided to cater to my infantile obsession with zombies and theme all the beers that way.  Our “brewery” is named Ol’ Shambler Brewery.  While making labels for beer that will eventually be drunk, then have the labels stripped right back off again may seem a bit needless, we wanted to have fun with this hobby from start to finish.  To that end we have enlisted (entrapped!) two of our talented friends, Marty and Kim, to help design and color said labels… and they’ve done a hell of a job so far.  I’ll post the artwork separately, another time – gotta’ save some stuff for other posts!

We’ve also started fermenting our first mead — a traditional, sweet-semi-dry variety — using raw, unpasteurized orange blossom honey from a local apiary.  It’s coming along nicely, but won’t be ready to drink for till about this time next year.  Sadly meads, hard ciders, perrys, and wines of all stripe are not “young” beverages, and require an extended conditioning period ranging from a few months, to well over a year depending on the style.  Our patience should be rewarded, and is all the more motivation to have a number of batches going at once.

The downside to home brewing is equipment and supply storage.  It takes up some space, man, and it’s a struggle to store everything so that it 1) isn’t underfoot, and B) isn’t unsightly.  I don’t want to just plonk it all down in a spare bedroom and shut the door, but I don’t want it to sit in the garage or attic gathering dust and who-knows-what-else.  I also want to have access to everything as I need it without having to go dig it out of a storage area.  We have plans to, eventually, build cabinetry into the bar — when we build the bar — to store homebrew gear and fermenting batches out of sight, but accessible.

That, my little ones, is all I have to ramble about at this time.  Be good to each other, even if it means being naughty.  Especially if it means being naughty.


Let’s Play Catch Up!

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Domestica,Family,Links,Rambling | Monday 8 February 2010 4:03 pm

Ok, ok… I’ve been lazy.  I admit that, you expect that… so let’s not dwell on it, hmmmm?

What has happened in DmentiA since last I rambled on at random?

Christmas came and went, and left many wonderful things in its wake… including (but not limited to) a new art print for the wall, books, and seed money to procure the bulk of my start-up gear to begin home brewing beer.  *squee* Much intense and focused research was done and equipment was bought.

We made many delicious things as Christmas gifts this year, and Sweets has a great write-up about it all HERE.

Austin saw much rain, and very cold temperatures.  Much of the garden did the usual die-off/leaf drop gig, and the yard started looking bleak.  A few plants were protectable, and even fewer actually prospered form the cold (our garlic, to be specific).  Leaves dropped from trees and littered the yard.

The new year came and went, and left me with a kidney stone as a parting gift.  Thanks… it’s what I’ve always wanted.

Sweets’ family came to the States, and after a week in Disneyworld, they trekked into NOLA where we met them and stayed a few days, then made our collective way to Austin.  They stayed for a week — it was a lovely week at that — and I think I managed to keep from frightening them sufficiently with my crass American ways… I was on my best behavior, and didn’t disgrace my family.  Suckers!  Fooled you all.

They specifically came in to attend Sweets’ graduation from Culinary School, join us in a bleated (very belated!) wedding party, and basically make sure I wasn’t keeping Sweets in squalor (I kid!  I kid!).  The graduation was very nice, and I can’t adequately express how fiercely proud I am of her.

Sweets has written up the visit, complete with pictures, HERE.  She’s done such an elegant job of it, that I won’t shame myself by endeavoring to do it again. (see paragraph 1, i.e. “being lazy”).

And, most recently, Sweets and I finally brewed our first batch of beer.  It’s a lovely Belgian Golden Ale, similar to Duvel, and it was a blast to make.  I spent the preceding ten days doing massive research into the brewing process, basically discarding the generic process that comes along with the recipe kit.  I learned a tremendous amount about the overall process, what shortcuts can be taken, the very specific stages of mashing grains and making a wort, the hows and whys of the specific gravities of the liquid at every stage, and so much more.  I also learned that for all the minutiae that can and should be paid attention to, that you can just chill and not worry about it.  There is a popular phrase I’ve read a lot while doing my homework: “RDWHAHB Relax, Don’t Worry, Have A Homebrew.”

The hooch is in the primary fermenter where it will live until the yeasties have done most of their work converting the sugars into alcohol (about a week), then it gets moved into a secondary fermenter where it basically clarifies for two weeks, then into bottles for conditioning and natural carbonating for 3-4 weeks.  Yup, it’s a lot of time to wait, and that’s why most home brewers have multiple batches going at once.  Time, equipment, and experience will eventually allow us to do that to.  Eventually.

For now, I’m enjoying the sheer adventure and creativity of the process, and I’m learning a hell of a lot of new things as well.  When you stop learning, you may as well lie down and die.

That’s it for now, kiddies.  Expect to hear a lot more about homebrew from me.



Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Rambling | Wednesday 9 December 2009 9:00 am

Our jalapeño plants have just about reached the end of their pepper production for the year, and we found ourselves with a nice collection of peppers to do something with.  All told, we ended up with somewhere in the neighborhood of 165 – 175 peppers from five plants that didn’t start producing until late in the season.  We anticipate more next year.

After having used 30 or so while cooking, we were left with about 135 peppers to do something with before they went off.  I have a dehydrator, and that is the best choice for preserving the peppers long term… you can store them in an airtight container almost indefinitely, they can be re-hydrated for use in recipes, or ground up and sprinkled on like salt.  But what about making chipotles?

I used this as an opportunity to experiment with a little project I’ve wanted to work on for a little bit.  I have a gas grill with lots of acreage, and it’s everything I need for most of my outdoor cooking needs.  I’ve never desired a full-blown smoker as I don’t feel I’d get as much use out of it as I’d spend on it, and storing it is another consideration.  What I wanted was something that was cheap, I could store in a small space, and could easily pull out on the few times I wanted to smoke something.

Enter the “ghetto smoker”.  It’s a concept I first discovered while watching Good Eats, and I’ve seen a lot of different adaptations around the web as well.  Basically you take a hot plate and a cast-iron skillet and put it in a “something” (garbage can, large box, a large terracotta pot with another pot inverted over it, etc), and add wood chunks/chips/sawdust to it and turn it on, then place a rack over it and close the whole thing up and go, occasionally adding more wood to it as it runs out.  That’s the gist.

I wanted to spend as little as possible on the whole shebang, otherwise it wasn’t worth my time or money.  I have a large grill, so there is my smoking chamber already accounted for, and it’s now a multitasker.  I picked up a cheap-ass hot plate at the grocery store for $7, and an 8″ cast-iron skillet at Goodwill for $4.  Done and done.  Wood for smoking can be had at Home Depot year round.

A few notes on making and using a ghetto smoker:

  • Whatever you’re smoking must be at an elevation above the smoke/heat source or you’ll get no love.  This elevation cannot be too close to the heat/smoke source or you’ll cook too quickly.
  • Wood chips soaked in water for 30 minutes or so will start smoking quickly, generate more heat, but will be exhausted in less than an hour… wood chunks however will last considerably longer — soaked will last up to 3 hours but are slower to catch and start smoking, dry will catch and smoke right away, but only last about 60 – 90 minutes.  The trick is to refuel with soaked wood before the old wood is completely used up.
  • Eliminate as many air-drafts as you can to keep heat and smoke in, but make sure there are some small holes to let some smoke out.
  • Keep a probe thermometer near whatever you’re smoking to monitor the ambient temperature.  You want this to be between 170 and 200 degrees (depending on what you’re smoking).  Adjust the wood, or the location of the smoked goods to change this.
  • If you’re smoking meat, put a second probe thermometer into the meat to monitor the internal temperature.  There are no set times to follow, temperature is the only way to get it right.
  • Anything that is in the smoke will get smoked.  Thermometers, grills, etc will get covered and stained by a layer of smoke.

So, armed with all this I smoked about a third of my red, ripe jalapeños.  It took about 8 hours, and lots of fiddling to figure things out, but it worked, and worked well.  I pronounce the grill as a ghetto smoker a success… with the caveats being that I cannot get the smoked material directly over the smoke as it’s too close, but to one side and just above, and I now have a very old towel that is dedicated to the task of draping over the back of my grill to close off the gaps that are there by design to let smoke out.

I’ll continue to use this as I see fit to try out some other smoker projects, and if I find myself enjoying it more and more, I’ll make the minimal investment in a $40 smoker from Home Depot.  Now that I have muddled through discovering the basics of what is involved in the process, I have found that I don’t need anything elaborate or huge, just something that satisfies the needs.

Even so, it’s been a fun and cheap project.


Chili Winter Evening.

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Links | Monday 7 December 2009 11:37 am

I’ve been wanting to find a good, tried and true chili recipe for a while… a full-bore, proper chili that didn’t use chili powder or canned chili sauce.  The kind of recipe that’s handed down from person to person, not found on the web.

I finally got one.

A coworker friend of mine had been boasting about his chili, and how his wife had this dynamite chili sauce that was made from scratch, and well, that sounded about right to me.  The problem was that they hadn’t written anything down, they just made it “by feel”.  When I asked for the recipe, he used it as a good excuse to make a batch of chili and take down notes.  Those notes ended up in my inbox on Saturday.  I cobbled together a more formal recipe from what he sent and promptly went shopping.

Armed with this recipe I set to putting it all together, starting with the chili sauce.  The sauce is simple, and flavorful, consisting of sauteed onions, dried peppers and broth simmered for the better part of an hour, then blended to within an inch of its life then strained.  It’s thick, dark and powerful stuff… precisely as it should be.  This is the key to a good chili — this is the make or break part.

The second part, the actual chili, is straightforward as well.  Cubed stew meat, after being browned off, is combined with sauteed onions and garlic, seasonings and some water or broth, then allowed to simmer until tender.  The rest of the ingredients are added, as is the chili sauce.  Adjust the seasonings and heat to suit your tastes, then cut the heat to low and abandon all hopes of eating it for at least 5 or 6 hours.  Allow the whole melange to simmer slowly and thicken up, further tenderizing the meat and letting all those flavors co-mingle and mature.

Your patience will be rewarded.

Eleven people demolished 6½ quarts of chili, 2 loaves of fresh bread, and a pot of rice in record time.  It was worth every minute of bloating that came afterward.

The recipe can be found HERE.

I know there are some heat-hounds reading this, and I tell you now that this is a “½ alarm” chili that is suited for the widest range of pepper tolerances, so you’ll want to spice it up to suit your own tastes.  I strongly suggest doing it during the chili sauce phase.  You can either leave all the pepper seeds in to boost it a bit, or substitute hotter chilies in the “Optional Additional Peppers” section (habaneros or scotch bonnets perhaps?).  I used fresh jalapeños, half of them with the seeds intact to get the mild heat I like.  The ancho and cascabel chilies are necessary to get the right basic flavor and texture, so leave those be.  Finding the right balance of other peppers is your problem, not mine.


In Other News…

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Rambling | Wednesday 14 October 2009 12:15 pm

… hooray for taco night!  Take my advice, add diced mushrooms and grated carrots to your simmering ground meat.  Trust me on this.


Against The Dead.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Entertainment,Friends,Links,Promotion,Spotlight | Wednesday 14 October 2009 11:49 am

Martin Whitmore — my obnoxiously talented friend and illustrator — has been developing a d20 zombie apocalypse game for about a year now.  The official title is “Against the Dead”.  I know, I’m excited too. *glee*

Against the Dead - Cover Preview

He’s already amassed 70+ original illustrations for the book, and is looking to “flesh it out” with some more zombie-massacre (and flesh-eating) action shots.  In order to generate some capital to offset the costs of putting the book together, he’s offering — for a  nominal fee — to put a custom illustration of YOU in the book… as either a survivor or one of the unholy walking dead:

In both cases you can make requests as to the details of the drawing, which I will fill to the best of my ability with respect to what we still need in the book. Feel free to suggest weapons, equipment — whatever would make you happy. If I can make it suit the book, I will. Depending on how many people are interested, I may put multiple subjects into a single illustration – we do need some action shots of survivors killing zombies, and vice-versa!

$20 to be a zombie, $30 to be a survivor.  Your donation gets you into the pages of Against the Dead, as well as a signed print of your illustration.

Go HERE for more details, and to get your ugly mug into the book.


Gardening Update.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,House,Pictures | Wednesday 30 September 2009 1:01 am

Well, the bell pepper plants which had been threatening to pop open all those flower buds have followed through, and we’ve got some actual peppers growing on them.  As with the jalapenos, the first round of flowers opened up and fell off without pollinating, regardless of all my efforts to diddle them into submission.  Shortly after, though, the flowers actually stated producing fruit.

Bell peppers, unlike the jalapenos which grow through the withered flower (and wear them like a sad little tutu for a while), just pop the flower off and grow from there, looking for all the world like a miniature green little fat dude backing through a tiny round doorway.  I swear, the metaphor doesn’t stop there… as the tiny bell pepper continues to grow and bulge from the crown on the end of the stem, it looks for all the world like a green baby’s butt.  Sadly, I have no pictures of that, but I do have some of the bell peppers looking a bit more bell peppery.  The current batch are all a little larger than my thumb, and growing visibly every day.

Baby Bell PepperBaby Bell PepperBaby Bell Pepper

The jalapenos have gone nuts, and each of our five plants have at least a dozen or more maturing peppers hanging from them.  We decided that we’re going to let them continue maturing until they make it to the red stage, making them a little sweeter. We’ll harvest them then, along with any of the larger green ones, and do what we will with a good sized batch all at once.

Jalapeno PeppersJalapeno Peppers

Last week we had a ton of rain.  In the words of my family matriarch:

Shouldn’t you be blogging about all the rain Austin is getting, rather than about zombies?  If I got more rain for my drought-cursed area in one day than in the past 5 months, I’m sure I’d want to shout about it.

Here I am, mother-of-mine, talking about it.  We had so much rain over the span of three days that the ground stayed happily saturated for a week, the weather dipped into the 60’s during the day (and started to feel all Fall-like), and my previously-thought-to-be-dying pumpkin vines took off and grew like kudzu on amphetamines, and started flowering.

Sadly, I have no pictures of the gorgeous, gigantic, vibrantly yellow-gold-almost-orange flowers in bloom, as they open early in the morning and don’t stay open long, and my brain being deprived of caffeine doesn’t process things like “go get the camera, numskull” very quickly at such an early time of day.  Suffice to say, I do have pictures of the post-coital male flowers, and some that have yet to pop their cork — all taken quite artfully, so as to distinguish it from common garden-variety porn (I made a funny!).

Pumpkin Vines And Flower BudsPumpkin Vines And Flower BudsPumpkin Vines And Flower Buds

Our herbs are doing well… so well in fact that I think we’re about ready to do a second harvest of both types of basil (pictured below on the right) for dehydrating in a week or two.  They’re also contributing to the beautification of our little DeJockamo garden shrine, but I think that next season we’re going to have to move them into larger planters to give them space to continue growing.

DeJockamo's Garden

The last thing we have in the actual garden (rather than in planters all around the yard) are our peanuts… the great peanut experiment of 2009!  We planted four seedlings to see how they’d fare in this environment, and they grew admirably… at least above ground (we’re about to dig them up and see what’s been happening in the soil).  They have done so well, in fact, that they didn’t die off when they were supposed to — which is an indication that they’re ready to dig up.  They just kept on going, producing more flowers and sending more shoots into the soil.  The flowers, by the way, are gorgeous.

Peanut Flower

And finally, a picture of the plant we’ve finally managed to keep alive in Persephone, a wall-mounted planter that has the soil capacity of the average mouse’s bladder, and also lives outside in partial shade and extreme heat condemning any living thing planted into it to a life of Lazarus-like death and revival every few days.  Except for the aloe we planted into it four months back.  It likes drier soil, heat… and apparently being root-bound, as it has not only survived, but thrived in the pot, easily doubling its size since being planted there.



Swashing A Buckle.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Links,Pictures,Rambling | Tuesday 29 September 2009 1:01 am

September 19 was International Talk Like A Pirate Day, and in honor of the esteemed occasion, our friends over at Team Dandy threw a party.  The dress was, as you may have guessed, thematic.

Since all of my costuming perished in the flood, I’ve been sorely lacking the last few years — most notably around Ren Faire time.  This seemed like an opportune moment to start building the collection back up, for both Sweets and myself.  We could get good mileage out of the costumes this year, both for the pirate party and for Ren Faire.

Sweets has written an nice account of the costume making adventure HERE.

What I want to add to the overall experience are the following things:

Yes, I sew.  I can sew quite well — granted, I’m inexperienced at making complex things straight out of my head, but I am a masterful operator of a sewing machine and can follow a pattern (that isn’t written by cracked-out retards) with the best.  It’s a skill I acquired as a part of my “figure out how things work, and be creative with what you’ve learned” mentality.  This is a skill you learn quite rapidly when you are a die-hard Halloween/Ren Faire/Special Effects fan, and don’t have the money to buy pre-made stuff.  Additionally, in my case, I am exceptionally picky about the quality of what I buy, and the overwhelming consensus amongst commercial costume manufacturers is that everything must be made cheaply, lightweight, and temporary.  I call bullshit on that, and make my costuming out of heavy, long wearing material that both lasts forever and looks and feels like the era or theme I’m aiming for.

Yes, I’ll still kick your ass for sincerely mocking me for knowing how to sew — because no, sewing has not diminished my masculinity one bit.  *grins*

Enough people asked the following question that it’s worth mentioning: “where did you get that outfit from”, or more specifically “you MADE that?” The Captain’s jacket elicited the most surprise — not so much that it was me that made it, but that the jacket wasn’t professionally manufactured.  I’m flattered, I really am.  I made the shirt, jacket and pants… the sash too, but that’s really just a swag of fabric, as are the wraps around the boots.  All told it took 2 weeks of weekday evenings and one weekend, and the occasional need to share the sewing machine with Sweets.

I’ve swiped pictures from Sweets to show off here, and my only comment is: sofofabitch, I look huge!  I mean, I’m a stout guy, but the loose billowy shirt coupled with my “manly hero poses” makes me look like I need to start jogging the decks during voyages.  I wish I had a few regular poses to salve my wounded ego.

The next foray will be into leather working so I can make pouches, belts, hats and boots.  I’ve purchased quite a number of pouches over the years to go with my Ren Faire costumes, all the while griping about the prices.  Mind you, these were all hand made, and of exceptional quality, but it’s almost cost prohibitive to satisfy my tastes and needs.  I can make these myself, keep the cost down, and build to my specifications.

Maybe for next year.

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