Thursday, May 24, 2012

Knot Jewellery

The recent warm weather here forced me to wear shorts for the first time in years. Actually the shortest shorts I've ever owned which isn't very short but still slightly worrying to me.
For some reason this reminded me that I used to make and wear anklets made from embroidery floss. So on my way into London Hackspace for an evening I decided to grab a few skeins of embroidery floss and get to work.

I really didn't expect it to go so fast. I've not made these in probably 13+ years but I just remembered how to make all the right loops rapidly. I nearly finished the whole anklet just on my half an hour journey.

I've now started a full necklace too. Wondering if I should put the copper squid pendant on it since I made it a little too thick for a normal jumper ring. We'll see.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Copper Squid Pendant

Copper Squid pedant, post-pickling

Made from Copper Art Clay, torch fired for 10 minutes, pickled in citric acid + hot water.

I think I could get used to this metal clay stuff...

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Colours for Unusual Things

Parsley tastes green
Tactical Nuclear Penguin tastes brown
Freshly henna'ed hair smells red (as come up by husband last night)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Clay and Tactile Making

Fimo Dragon
I've been making a lot of things out of various squishy clay materials recently. The coolest is PMC (Precious Metal Clay)... it's microscopic particles of silver (or I also have copper and there's some nonprecious metals too) with organic binder that burns off when you fire it. You're left with a 99% fine silver object. So far I've only made tiny charms with it but I have a few lab-created gemstones I'm going to try to set in the clay and make some jewellery out of it.

I'm having an infinite debate about how to make a nice ring out of PMC. There seems to be a lot things you can do, like fire it as a flat piece then bend and solder it together (possibly only able to bend it while still hot, though, from what I've heard. This is not ideal for my limited home workshop situation) or do various things with investment powder "pellets" that the ring shrinks against and you're left with a nice, perfectly round shape. I have a rather lumpy piece of copper clay ring to be fired still that I'll need to put on a mandel to turn into a circle probably. We'll see if it stretches and breaks.

Last night, I was playing with plasticine (aka modeling clay to Americans) and built a rather cute little dragon. Having now gone home and started playing with my 5+ year old Fimo clay that I bought to make horns out of, I realise just how soft plasticine is. I'm having to fight to mould the fimo... but on the other hand it's much easier to smooth out than plasticine.

There's a bit of elitism about digital things, probably partly down to marketing and partly down to PROGRESS! but actually there's at least as much value in making things by hand as there is in the digital world. We both put long hours into our works so I don't feel we should argue over such things. It's better to appreciate each others works, for better or for worse.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love/Hate Food Hacking

Love food hacking
... It is cool making new things and experimenting lots
... It is easy to start with so many possibilities and deliciousness
... Sometimes people are impressed
... Tasty noms and cool looking stuff

Hate food hacking
... It's sometimes too far in the realms of just my boring housewife life which I don't like.
... Effort presenting to large groups (economies of scale)
... Sometimes lots of maths for scaling, though I'm getting better at this after 12+ years of cooking and experimenting
... Sometimes people aren't impressed or not nearly enough vs. the effort involved (usual complaint of making things, not specific to food hacking)

Otherwise I'm one of the runners-up in the Instructables Food Science Contest. I get a cookbook. Would have preferred getting my hands on the molecular gastronomy kits for more experimenting but I guess I'll just have to fund my own experiments as usual.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A useful sketch/photoshop mashup

Rapid Cocktail Mixing Kit

Yesterday I had an awesome idea for a box.

A box that'll contain lots of little boxes of different botanticals and flavours. Also a cream whipper and a bottle of gomme syrup to adjust sweetness. This little kit would be able to roughly replicate various dominate flavours in cocktails... it wouldn't be exactly the same as having a wall of different flavoured liqueur bottles but it'd be customisable.

This fits in with my love of Wunderkammer and "stuff in jars" as I fondly refer to it as. The museum in my hometown, The Woodman Institute, was very much a wunderkammer full of stuff in jars and randomness. You walk in and there's a 9ft high standing polar bear that just fits under the stairs. Four-legged baby chickens, stuffed alligators, the saddle that President Lincoln rode into town on, hardtack from the US civil war (which looks maggot-eaten, decaying on a piece of paper), whalebones, everything.

Also, somehow, it reminds me of something in one of my favourite movies, Stealing Beauty. There was a character dying of some terminal illness and he was befriending this beautiful young woman who had come to Italy to rekindle an old flame from her childhood. They were discussing how the grapes in wine absorb all the surrounding smells. First a sip of the wine and try to describe it... it's difficult to describe. It's just wine. Now, a small box of various bottles of things is brought out and they go through smelling a few of the bottles. Then taste the wine again. Suddenly you're able to describe all these more subtle notes and flavours that you couldn't place before.

Getting back to the box idea, the gomme syrup would be used to adjust sweetness, since many liqueurs are quite sickly sweet compared to pure vodka/rum/gin etc. The cream whipper is used for rapid infusion of the ingredients. Possibly would be good to include something like a small jelly bag to strain out botanicals. A sort of desert island cocktail bar kit...

New Blogy thing

I've decided I needed a blog for my "making stuff" stuff (stuffstuff?) so here it is. It'll be a more wordy version of my notebook which is typically a bunch of childish scribbles and random words, exclamation points, and fervent underlining and circling of things.