Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not A Muse

Back when I was in my twenties and about to gallivant off to grad school in pursuit of a masters in computer science (yes, I caught it), my grandmother (surely a product of her time) fussed at me: "Why bother with this graduate school nonsense - you should just knit sweaters to sell" which has to have been one of the silliest things she ever suggested, hand knits being as much maligned by the population at large as they are.

So I knit mostly just to please myself, as my mood dictates.

I'm fairly well disciplined in that I generally finish (or rip out completely) what I start, and actually wear what I make for myself (or rip it out if it proves Not Useful).

Beading is sorta-kinda like that, but not altogether.

Beading for pleasure is exactly like that. I bead what pleases me.

I also bead samples for classes, often more than one, so as to have complete items in each colourway when I'm doing kits. And I finish them.

If ever I should have nothing pressing, nothing demanding to be made, I can find stacks and stacks of papers with sketches and notes chockful of ideas. 

Usually I can make sense of what I wrote (but not always), often I find the same idea in more than one place, and usually I still want to make one of those that way. 

Usually I don't get to since there are only twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week, and I'm at work for forty-five of those hours, driving to or from work for eight to ten of those hours (depending on traffic and highway construction god I'm so sick of highway forty being closed), working out for two to four of those hours (doesn't sound like much when you count it out, but it feels like Way Too Much), sleeping for forty-two or more (depending on the noisiness of teenagers and their insane summer bedtimes) and that just doesn't leave much time for beading.

Some of the things I bead I love and covet and would never make again or give away or sell, some things I'm compelled to make but not keep, and some things just seem perfect for kits.

I had this idea for a necklace shaped like a shirt collar, sort of, with a rivoli centre front, invisible fastening thing (see, I bought hooks) and this floral theme and I had the glass leaves and it was a huge big deal with the sketches and the bead counts and the online colour wheel with complement calculator and I really really REALLY fully intended to make one of them.

Yeah but no.

There's something about it that causes me to pick up something else every time I look at my sample. 

The muse keeps leading me astray.

I like this one much better.

As usual my photography is lying about the colours, which are my favourites: food colours. Aubergine, roasted pumpkin and raspberry. Seriously, the blue is deep plummy purple in real life.

And now for something completely different, sort of: actual food.

On my quick trip to the Big Apple a couple of weeks ago, I arrived bearing gifts of food I had made: some multi-grain batter bread, and crunchies.

If you are Sow Theffrican, your mother probably had crunchies in the cupboard at all times, and although her crunchies weren't quite the same as Auntie Bea's crunchies, which were also not quite the same as Auntie Pat's crunchies, they were all delectable and crunchies nonetheless.

Jonathan practically melted. Seems like Auntie Marge didn't bring her crunchies recipe to the US, so I'm happy to share.


1 cup rolled oats (you can use quick oats, but rolled oats are better)
1 cup desiccated coconut (absolutely not that nasty sweetened stuff)
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
a bit more than a stick of butter or margarine, 150g is optimal, but you can fudge
2 tablespoons of golden syrup or honey or corn syrup if you must
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking soda/bicarbonate of soda

Preheat the oven to 325/170.

Melt the butter with the syrup. Mix everything together and press into a jellyroll pan (urk! I've lost my language: I don't know what these were called back in the old country) - it'll fill perhaps two thirds only. Make sure the edge is neat.

Bake for about half an hour until golden. My oven runs hot - you may need as much as forty minutes. This is OK.

Don't let it cool too long before cutting into squares, as it can be a bit of a production if you were too enthusiastic when you pressed it into the jellyroll pan. Ask me how I know. Let's just say that it's lucky my kitchen has a nice heavy poundy thing so that I could force the cuttage.

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