Ghost Month 2014

I’m really looking forward to this year’s Ghost Month. I have no idea what I’m going to write about, but I have some books I want to review, a few movies to watch, and maybe we’ll get into world mythology.

Last year’s content

The Stars are Falling

Devil’s Elbow

The Constable of Abal

The Sylvanville Spirits

Canon Alberic’s  Scrap Book

Utica Psych Center

The Haunting of Reindeer Manor

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Garden Pie

Portrait

Like I said yesterday, this is the week for terrible light.

This is in fact such a bad week for light, I’m feeling my SAD triggering. Oy. Where’s my magnesium?

…How bad are we talking? Let me make you feel a whole world of a lot better about your photo skills.

baked garden pieThat’s after trying an auto adjust and a retro filter. Ouch.

This is such a flexible recipe. Leave out the meat, add more meat, use your favorite sauce, use your favorite soft cheese, use whatever vegetables you have…use a crust out of a box if you want. I do. My crusts are terrible.

Garden Pie

1 pie crust, recipe of choice

assorted garden vegetables, chopped

leftover protein, like braised chicken

soft cheese (I used farmer’s cheese)

sauce of choice (I used bbq)

seasoning mix of choice (I used the salt free one from Trader Joe’s because it was sitting on my stove)

Preheat oven to 350

In a pie plate place your pie crust.

Starting with your protein, layer meat, vegetables, and cheese. Top with seasonings and sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Let sit a few minutes prior to serving.

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Candyman (1992)

I think that there’s something about horror films that prevents them from having anything higher than a three star rating on IMDB.

I mean, maybe that’s not a bad thing, but I’ve noticed that as I’ve looked up the release year on films.

I may have already reviewed Candyman, but I’m not sure. I have, however, reviewed The Forbidden (the source material for this film).

Clive Barker’s film adaptations are in the love/hate relationship group for me. I love them, I think that his imagery is potent enough to make the jump to the screen in a sort of Silent Hill, mind-messing way. On the other hand, I swear that they all end with a similar image. All of them. You could swap out the ending of Hellraiser with the end of Candyman and end up in pretty much the same place.

There are some pivotal differences between the Forbidden and Candyman, mainly in relationship to the titular villain himself. The movie also tends to strip out the sociological emphasis that I love so much in the short story but I suppose that most people don’t want to hear about the follies of a grad level sociology program. I feel that, while certainly being gritty, the building complex in the short is actually presented as both darker and more confusing. There are some fairly large changes made to the plot when it makes the jump to screen that may or may not be important to the viewer. I feel that for myself, I was able to handle the changes smoothly but at the same time, having rewatched this film after reading the source story, I’m a little confused and disappointed with the shifts.

But has the actual film stood the passage of time? Actually, I think that it does. I think that there is a certain creepiness that goes with urban legends that gives the movie something timeless.

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Farmer’s Market Salad

farmers market salad

Welcome to autumn, the season of terrible photos.

Seriously, the weather has just been strange this summer. I was that person refusing to say that this summer isn’t a summer, but when the truck is telling me it’s 59 degrees at 10 in the morning, I have to admit defeat. I don’t normally feel like it’s harvest season at this point of the year but I’m about ready to give up and break out my canned pumpkin.

This salad will in theory use up tons of garden produce, if you live in a place with a better growing season than we have this year. To be fair, it’s still a little early for western New York. I’m alway surprised at how late the produce comes on here.

Farmer’s Market Salad is a love child between a salad my mom made when I was growing up and a salad my high school cafeteria of all places used to make. It has sharp bite of the one my mom made (hers had no sweetener whatsoever), and the sweetness of the school’s. Add a little water or some ice to pull back on the bite.

Farmer’s Market Salad

About 6 cups chopped vegetables, whatever you have from the garden or the market

1 cup white vinegar

about 2 tablespoons raw sugar

about 2 tablespoons dill seed (or about a head’s worth fresh dill)

about 1/2 tablespoon salt free mixed seasoning (I’ve been using the 21 seasoning mix from Trader Joe’s because I was lazy and it was there)

In a large bowl, mix the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Add spices.

Add vegetables and toss, let sit for roughly half an hour before you serve.

*To pull back on the bite, add some ice cubes while it sits. I like the bite, it’s like a really fast fridge pickle this way.

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

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Dyeing in Pint Jars-Solar or Stove Top

I’m sort of in between projects right now. Or rather, I’m sort of in the middle. Even the shrub I’m working on is still at the sit there stage.

It makes it kind of hard to post about anything, when all I have to show you is a half finished or quarter finished project.

This wasn’t meant to be the summer of the dye pot, but I’ll tell you what I have been doing all the time lately. This has easily become one of my favorite ways to dye. I use it all the time right now.

There are some downsides to pint jar dyeing, and the big one is that you can only fit so much fiber in a jar at once. I don’t mind my roving being split because I split it anyway but I can see this being an issue if you’re dyeing yarn. You’re also limited to how many jars you can fit in a stock pot, unless you’re solar dyeing and can just sort of line them up. But since this is the year without a summer, I’m going stove top.

I also don’t normally like a roving with a lot of white space, and every batch that I’ve run has given me if not white space then significantly lighter splotches. I’m okay with that, though.

One of the upsides to dyeing like this is that since your dye pot itself is not containing dyes, you can rerun the same pot multiple times, thereby saving the water. I know that’s one of the big issues that comes up when I talk about dyeing. You can reuse the water in the jars a couple of times too but keep in mind that every round is adding acid, which can alter your outcome. If you’re okay with unstable/unpredictable dyes, than that’s fine.

A lot of words for a fairly simple process.

Here’s a solar dye:

solar dye pint jarand rovings dyed in the stove top:

hawthornehawthorne 2 hawthorne 3See what I mean about the splotching?

The process itself is simple. If you’ve ever melted chocolate in a double boiler you can do this. I’ve found that the jar can hold about 3 packages of kool-aide without an issue.

Add your powder to the jar, then fill the jar about halfway with water. Wrap -dry- roving around your hand about five times (I’ve found that with the size of my hand, five wraps is about the maximum amount of wool I can get into the jar). You may have to really force the wool into the jar. Fill the jar with water to fill.

Yes, the top of the wool will most likely not be covered in dye. Hence the splotches.

Add the jars to a water bath  (the double boiler effect) and bring to at least a simmer. Let it cook for about an hour (though I’ve done up to 45 minutes without an issue with striking). Pull the pot from heat, or pull the jars with a jar lifter, and let the jars come to room temperature.

Carefully take the wool out of the jars and unwrap the bundles. Rinse and let them drip dry. I haven’t had any issues with felting if I follow that process.

Again, a lot of words for a fairly simple dyeing process.

*The wool that looks like it didn’t take dye well in those photos, did. I ran three batches sampling all the reds in my collection, including the pinks which struck but didn’t necessarily photograph well. It’s not under the best natural light.

 

 

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Sunday Legends-Habetrot

I like it when I randomly pick a legend off of my list (I do actually have a physical list, by the way) and it ends up being something that’s relevant.

Today is the last day of the Tour de Fleece, and we’re talking about a spinning legend. I’m not sure if she counts as ‘fey’, so I’m hesitant to put this in the Beautiful Ones series, but I’m not sure where she fits otherwise, either.

The habetrot is one of three spirits related to the spinning preparation of fiber. She has a deformed lip from wetting fiber, while her sister/sister spirit has a deformed foot from treadling and the third a deformed thumb from drafting. I had a swollen thumb for years from the weight of a clarinet, I can believe it. Luckily none of my body parts seem to be reacting to spinning quite yet.

The habetrot is an entity from the Scottish-English border, but similar stories appear in other European countries which suggests either the presence of similar concerns or cultural diffusion (but Katie, cultural diffusion NEVER happens!…sorry, I’ve been talking myth politics too much lately). Spirits like the habetrot don’t get a lot of traction anymore because handspinning is effectively a hobby in most western countries, but at one point, the presence of a hand spinner was a necessity if you wanted things like clothing. The usage of a spinner is sort of silently reflected in many of these stories-the habetrot could heal through some convaluted practices, and some of the Russian folk spirits are exceptionally helpful so long as the knitting and spinning are kept in good order.

There’s not a lot to go on, but there’s more than for a deity like, say, Cernunnos (I got to sit a class on Cernunnos by the writer of Raise the Horns a couple of weeks ago. I do love me my horned gods), and it may be that there’s some interaction like our buddies Cernunnos and Herne going on here, in that we may be making stuff up as we go along and that’s okay too. When you have sources telling me that her shape was an octagon, but not a lot of solid myths outside of superstitions like clothes out of her wool healing the wearer, I fear that there’s a lot of conjecture going on. But that’s okay. I’m not one for stagnant myths.

*Speaking of which, I have seen writers link her as an aspect of Nicnevin, which does make her one of the Beautiful Ones. I…suppose it’s possible that she’s a hag aspect of another spirit or deity, but I think that it’s also just as possible that the habetrot is her own being, since hearth spirits are so prominent in so many European mythologies.

Habetrot

Habetrot

Habetrot

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Tour De Fleece (Almost) Wrapped Up

sunday edwardThere’s one more day of the Tour de Fleece left for this year, and I can say that this has been the most successful year that I’ve done it.

I think that giving myself such a laid back, casual goal this year (just work fiber every day) helped dramatically. I need to take pictures of my bobbins, but I have one that’s still on the wheel that I don’t want to touch so photos may come later tomorrow or Monday.

I didn’t get many projects actually finished, in the sense of spun, plied, and off of my wheel in during the length of the Tour. I did get miles of singles spun-even with my spindle, which is back in travel rotation until Fall.

Projects I can comment on:

Unicorn Farts and Faerie Wings- A snarky name for some beautifully dyed sock fiber that Mid has fallen in love with (good thing, hint hint). This bobbin is easily the finest spin I’ve gotten off of my wheel. I’m going to n-ply it and hopefully end up with enough yardage for socks.

*It’s named the way that it is because I get really annoyed that online land only likes pretty colored things. You can have a really technically awesome natural fiber next to a fairly roughly spun brightly colored yarn, and no one will care about the really awesome natural colored fiber. But my feelings on Internet magpies are well known.

Frigga-Speaking of natural colored wool, I got another completed round and another ply ball set up for my long term natural gray cable plied Icelandic project. I’m aiming for about 1000 yards total to make myself something cabled. I’m just under the 50% point right now.

Lady Edward-the green that I keep getting compliments on that’s most definitely not blue. Mostly merino, with a little bit of random wool seconds thrown in the mix. Mostly solar dyed at camp, but I did overdye a batch that broke into brown splotches and nothing else in the oven when we got back. I’m spindle spinning it and it’ll end up a 2 ply, probably on the border of fingering/lace weight.

 

Bloggers-I have started a new group board on Pinterest. Open to all DIY, craft, food, or other creative blogs, I would love to have you join. Joining instructions are posted on the board-join here.

Please, stop by this week’s Inspired Weekends!

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