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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ArtJournal Chai.

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Links,Promotion,Spotlight | Thursday 17 September 2009 11:26 am

Here’s an ArtJournal Chai Tea Syrup Recipe by Lucy Knisley, presented as only an illustrator can.  Looks tasty, actually, and I know there are chai tea lovers out there that read my blog.  Enjoy.

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Yet Another Zombie Webcomic.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Entertainment,Links,Promotion,Spotlight | Thursday 17 September 2009 9:47 am

Yes, the soft spot I have for the living dead is well known (I think it’s my abdomen…), and I ‘ve run across another very worthy webcomic.  Raising Hell by Andy Belanger, who is also a freelance artist at DC Comics, Transmission-x, Oni Press and IDW.  Here’s a preview:

And oh yes… I WILL make the bladed goalie stick to have in my weapons arsenal.  It is made of dreams and awesomeness… and cold hard steel.

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Neurosonics.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Entertainment,Links | Thursday 10 September 2009 10:44 am

Bizarre and entertaining.  I felt like sharing.

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Nightmare On Yeast Street.

Posted by DmentD | Cooking,Coolness,Domestica,Entertainment,Links,Pictures | Wednesday 9 September 2009 11:07 am

My darling, dear, wonderfully odd wife has created a new mission for herself… to instigate the spread of a growing blob-like creature to the four corners of the Earth!

Wait… four corners?  Of a sphere?  Who comes up with this crap?

Anyway, about a year ago Sweets as part of her coursework at the TCA, created a sourdough starter from scratch and it’s been living and growing in our fridge ever since.  Its name is Bready Kruger, and he’s a happy, bubbling, alcohol producing amorphous mass of goo.

Bready Kruger

Her concept is this: send small portions of Bready Kruger to friends and family (and strangers) to grow and use and make bread from — a strong, healthy starter is a thing of wonder, and a good path to having a healthy starter of your own (and a hell of a lot easier than making one yourself).  Everyone we send it to will be represented by a pin on a map.  We’re encouraging these folks to in turn send a portion of Bready Kruger to their friends, family and strangers, then report back to us so we can put a pin in the map.  Etc, etc, etc.

It’ll be amusing and awesome to watch the map slowly populate with pins as Bready Kruger starts traveling the world.

Go HERE to read Sweet’s post and get all the details if you’re interested in participating.  The map lives as a link on the sidebar of both Sweet’s site and mine.

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Peppery Bloom.

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Links,Pictures | Friday 4 September 2009 12:01 am

Miraculously, we managed to succeed in a few of our fumbling attempts to grow veggies and herbs earlier in the year.  While still considering it a learning period, it’s nice to have had some good results.

The most notable of the victories (so far… there’s still time to screw it all up!) are our pepper plants — jalapeño and bell pepper varieties.  We sprouted six of each, and all but one jalapeño seedling made it to the final potting stage.  After much research we found that pepper plants would thrive for years in a 4 – 5 gallon pot, and shooting for economy over aesthetics (planning on a dozen plants, dontchaknow) we opted for simple, cheap at $2.50 a piece, 5 gallon buckets.  With drain holes drilled in the bottom, they make the perfect planter, and they’re easy to move around the yard for repositioning.

Pepper Seedlings

Once the seedlings acclimated to being outside and living in a good sized planter, they took off and grew like mad!  About a month ago we started seeing flower buds appear on the jalapeño plants, and soon after a few white blooms popped open.  One by one, the entire bloom and stalk would wither and drop off (aka “blossom drop”).  This could be from a number of things, most notably a lack of pollination.  Peppers (and tomatoes) are self pollinating plants, needing little help from outside influence, but if the plants are in a sheltered area with little wind and there are no wandering insects to lend a hand, then pollination more often than not won’t happen.

After a little research I found that one can apply a q-tip to the inside of the bloom the spread the pollen about, and it actually seemed to work.  After faithfully diddling each new bloom every day (henceforth know as “plantsturbation”)  I had two jalapeños starting to grow and very little blossom drop.  After a week or so of no new peppers appearing I did a little more research… I had a sneaking suspicion that the q-tip method was a little heavy handed.

Turns out, there is a much simpler method (actually, two, but they amount to the same thing).  The consensus is that a vigorous shaking of the plant and/or flicking the bloom with your finger is more than sufficient to shake the pollen off the stamens and onto the stigma.  It also takes a hell of a lot less time.  I even found a helpful video, too.  Now, we have a bunch of jalapeños growing on several different plants, and a ton of flowers all around.

Jalapeno PlantsJalapeno BloomJalapeno GrowingJalapeno GrowingJalapeno Growing

The bell peppers are being shy… only two of the dozens of buds have opened, and one of them has dropped off (this was before I learned the shake/flick technique).  I feel that they are gonna start popping any day now.

Bell Pepper PlantsBell Pepper Flower Buds

Our biggest failures from the beginning have to be the herbs.  We planned on having eight or so different varieties, and as time went on they just didn’t fare well.  I estimate that the problem was two-fold — first, the craptacular starter kits that we bought that just kept the environment far too wet, which resulted in a lot of mold killing off seedlings and hampering root development, and second, that we didn’t transplant the seedlings soon enough after their initial growth in the seeding trays.

The only survivors were a few really stunted chives, parsley and basil.  Not ones to give up, we went ahead an planted them anyway and did what all good parents do when the family hamster dies… we bought replacements from the store before the kids could notice the missing rodent.  The store-bought plants took off while our gimpy herbs just sorta’ survived.  Gradually, though, we noticed that our herbs were actually starting to grow… the lone basil seedling grew into such a large bush that it overtook the sweet basil that we bought.  What the parsley lacks in abundance, it makes up for with strength and the chives, while sparse, are frigging gorgeous.

Chives

Next year, we’re hoping to use what we learned and bring our herbs up to full strength and numbers.

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Four Birthdays & Beatles Drum.

Posted by DmentD | Cakes,Links,Pictures | Wednesday 2 September 2009 12:45 pm

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Whatchoo Looking At?

Posted by DmentD | Links,Pictures,Rambling | Friday 3 July 2009 10:21 am

This seems to have been the week for being watched by dogs.  Not in the “furtive glance then look away ’cause hey there’s a squirrel!” kind of way, but in the “I’ve got my eye on you boyo, so watch your step” way.

The first was a pair of pooches in a truck at the post office.  There they were, sitting like humans — butt flat on the seat, leaning back — and calmly watching me walk back to my truck.  Their heads swiveled in unison to follow me, like a pair of sunflowers tracking the path of the sun.  Not once did they stir, not once did they bark, not once did they blink,  not once did they take their eyes off me until I had pulled away and entered traffic.  It was an eerie ghost twins in The Shining moment.

The StaredownThe StaredownThe Staredown

The second was a big ‘ol boy with his head out the window at a stoplight.  The light had just turned red, and we were going to be there for a few minutes.  This fellah’ sat there with his mug stuck out, and just watched me.  Nothing on the face of this earth could pull his attention away from me — not a cat, not another human in another car, not the other dog in the car with him that was methodically gnawing his hind leg off.  He even barked at me for having the audacity of pulling away from him when the light changed.

Happy Staredown

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Butterfly Book Cake.

Posted by DmentD | Cakes,Links,Pictures | Wednesday 20 May 2009 11:43 am

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We Done Gone To The Chapel….

Posted by DmentD | Coolness,Domestica,Family,Links | Wednesday 13 May 2009 2:09 pm

I’m a married man.

I’m blissfully wed to a woman that I have been head-over-heels in love with for the better part of two years, and whom I am thrilled beyond mortal words to be able to share my life with.

And because I’m a lazy bastard who doesn’t want to recreate the wheel, I’m sending you over to Sweets’ site to read the details and see the pictures*grins* She’s done an excellent job of it, and by law I’m now entitled to half the credit for the post.

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