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24 October 2016 @ 05:54 am
I just turned out the light and settled into a sleeping position, and as soon as I got comfortable I felt mom (who lives in Seattle, and is not here visiting) lean forward, touch my shoulder and say "by the way, I am going to get Lou's help to call..." However, before she could finish the sentence my waking brain remembered that her friend Lou had died some time back, and then I could hear mom's voice saying other things that didn't make sense and that I don't remember, and I was inspired to turn Internet back on my phone to ask. I just sent her a note saying the above, and asking "Mom, you aren't anyplace where Lou could help you place a call, are you? 'cause if you are, I got the message."

Edited to add: she replied to my message saying "No, I am not. You were dreaming. I am fine . Go to sleep.
My photographer friend returned to Phire practice on Friday, which inspired us to get back on the aerial silks and do lots of acroyoga. He has posted lots of his photos from that evening here and here.

Here is one from a new trick we are learning (you can tell, we actually have a spotter):

upside down

This one is just elegant:


The evening was also a great excuse to give a test run to my jester costume, now that I have the under tunic done. Sadly, the linen of that tunic is a bit see-through, so I borrowed C's vest to cover up, since I had no idea how much things would show in the photos, so you can't really see how it came out.

When I decided to make this, it was with the acrobatic performances in mind. Therefore, I needed something fitted and supportive without a bra, yet, very, very comfortable with lots of range of motion for the arms. Therefore I tried adapting the Finnish Eura dress pattern, using techniques from later period fitted patterns (e.g. Greenland finds) for the torso, but sleeves that go from the neck to the wrists for the arms, mostly like the Eura dress interpretation.

However, I opted to do the sleeves so that one edge is the fabric selvage, the other bias cut, and the under arm triangle gores are also one edge straight cut, the other bias cut, so that I could always sew a bias to a straight. I finished the under layer the other day and wore it to practice (along with my Thorsberg trousers)and was really pleased with how much movement and flexibility I have with it. The fabric doesn't mind if I stand on my hands or do any other extreme movement with my arms.

Here is one photo he got that kinda shows the outfit. I look forward to getting the wool over-layer done too. It was cut in the same pattern.

23 October 2016 @ 07:02 pm
I have made a lot of yummy variations of Green Spaghetti Sauce over the years, and they are usually wonderful, but I am particularly happy with the one I did on Saturday, so I am going to write it down before I forget.

Green Spaghetti (gluten free)

1 spaghetti squash
3 small heads of home-grown garlic (each one is one big round clove each--they didn't separate into individual cloves)
260 grams fresh spinach (it comes in 65 gram bags here)
1/2 cup previously chopped, steamed, and then frozen home-grown silverbeet
1 can artichoke bottoms, drained
1/4 cup canned chickpeas, drained
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 T flax seeds
dash each of pepper, dried rosemary, onion salt
1 T butter

Stab a hole in the squash with a sharp knife and set it into a pan in the oven to roast at 150 C for an hour. Poke holes in the garlic skin and put them into the oven to roast as well. It should be done in 20 to 30 minutes--pull it out when it is soft, and leave the squash to keep roasting. (Note: failure to poke the hole in the garlic will cause one of them to explode all over the inside of the oven, which is why only three, instead of the four I had planed to use, made it into the sauce. I do not recommend repeating this experiment unless you do so in a covered roasting pan, it turns out to be very difficult to remove the garlic on the oven roof behind the burner, even when the oven is cool.)

Take the silverbeet out of the freezer and set it into a microwave safe bowl and use the microwave to thaw it.

Steam the spinach till darker and wilted.

Put the thawed silverbeet, spinach, roasted garlic (after removing the peeling), seeds, chickpeas, and spices into a food processor and process till well blended. If needed add a small amount of the water from steaming the spinach to give it a more sauce like consistency. Transfer the sauce to a microwave safe bowl and give it a couple of minutes in the microwave at full power, stir, and it you would like it hotter yet, give it another couple of minutes. Repeat till it seems hot enough.

By now the squash should be about ready. When it is cooked through cut it in half, scrape the squash "noodles" out into a large bowl, stir in some butter (or other oil of choice if you don't do dairy) and stir in the sauce.


*If you don't happen to have silverbeet from your garden in the freezer you can substitute fresh or frozen greens of your choice. In the latter case, steam them, too.

*If you can't get spaghetti squash just now, feel free to substitute any kind of pasta you enjoy
Last year, when I ran Norrskensfesten and the first Norrskensbard competition, we had about 70 people register, a few of whom didn't make it at the last minute, but there were at least 65 people on site. This year we already have 82 people registered and it is still four weeks to the the event (well, technically four weeks till the day the event ends, but close enough). I just played with the drawing program, and if I add some more tables to the ring and put a high table on the stage then we can seat 86 and still have the space in the middle for dancing and the bardic performances. It will work out, I am certain. But part of me wants to say "no more registrations" now, and part of me wants my other friends who haven't registered yet to do so...

Sadly, I really don't know of any sites which have a larger hall, and a decent kitchen. This is one of the biggest I have personally been to up here.

Edited to add: decided on an event cap of 95 and then put people on a waiting list. Said so on FB, and by the time I was ready to put the computer down and get ready for bed the number of people who had tried to register was 99.
18 October 2016 @ 11:17 pm
One of Mistress Geraldine's friends mentioned in a conversion about long hair over in FB that when she goes to a cold climate she slathers her hair in conditioner and wraps it in a turban to keep it from drying too much. Since mine has gotten much shorter since moving to Luleå (it only goes to my shoulders, when once it touched my hips) I have taken her comment as inspiration and started an experiment as of this morning: I coated my hair in coconut oil and wrapped my hair in a long scarf, twisting the scarf once around my head, sticking the end through that loop and letting the tail hang down to my hips. It turned out to be quite comfortable for wearing to work (but I took it off for acroyoga). I hope that it helps, that my hair quits breaking off and starts re-gaining some (or all) of its lost length.
We had a lovely Frostheim social night tonight. Only five of us there, but there was group untangling of yarn (serious team-building exercise!), and making of tablets for tablet weaving, and one of the new ladies learned how to set up a tablet weaving project. We wound down kinda early, which was good, as I was home in plenty of time to see a lovely display of Northern Lights. I so truly love living in the north. Midnight Sun in the summer, and Northern Lights and stars in the winter. The best of both worlds. Totally worth the extra cost to get here from anywhere else.
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13 October 2016 @ 03:42 am
I woke up at almost 03:00 with pain between the shoulder blades, again.

Not a good time for it, since I am supposed to meet G, who kinda counts as one of my bosses, at 08:30 to use the scanning electron microscope (SEM) on the samples I will be taking to Finland (Espoo) sometime in the near future to analyse in the microprobe there (so that I can home and analyse them with the laser).

This back issue is one that has bothered me a lot in recent weeks since at least mid September) and that I had had a problem with in 2014. Back then I saw a physical therapist about it, who gave me some exercises to strengthen the tiny muscles between the shoulder blades, and the problem went away, not to return until last month.

Yesterday I met with my personal trainer and wr mostly talked about the pain I have been having between the shoulder blades and how we might solve it. my assignment is to do physical therapy (for now using exercises I had previously been given by physical therapist) on days 2 and 4 and workout on days 1 and 3 till it gets better. (My normal programme is a four day cycle, and if there is a day I don't work out the next time I do whatever day would have been next). I am wondering if I should also book an appointment with the physical therapist for this issue, or if he would just say the same thing as in 2014?
04 October 2016 @ 02:47 pm
Yesterday I experimented with an old family recipe for cream puffs, making a savory almond version. However, it having been my first attempt at baking them, I didn't have the trick down for getting the puffs to stay puffed and not collapse. So today I tried again, this time with a spinach, walnut, sunflower seed, and cream fillingCollapse )

Today's bake was only half a batch compared to the numbers reported yesterday, yet it made almost as many puffs, because this time I put only 1 T of batter in each muffin cup, which gave me 10 puffs (so yesterday's 12 could have been 20 had I enough cups for them). The new times and temps for baking worked perfectly, and once cool I had sturdy puffs that didn't mind being sliced open for filling, but just held their shape. They are really yummy, and I ate three right away (and am seriously considering going back for a fourth when I am done typing).

Note that yesterday's version was, in fact, still yummy today. I brought two to the office this morning, intending to eat one early, and the other for a later snack, but instead ate them both at once, because I couldn't not eat the second. I can't even say that I dislike the texture of yesterday's puffs. Yes, they did sag and are soft, but they wind up feeling rather like eating Swedish oven pancakes with the almond cream, an effect I rather like. Totally different than today's puffs, which are good in a very different way.
03 October 2016 @ 06:15 pm
Today while at the grocery store a container of ecological whipping cream somehow found its way into my basket, so when I got home I went looking for inspiration of what to do with it. 30 seconds with google convinced me that the first handful of main dishes that involve cream also contain ingredients that I find horrid, and that the first handful of deserts only needed the cream as a topping. So instead I turned to the recipe box that my mother gave me many years ago.

In that box I found a recipe I had never tried for Cream Puffs. The recipe is in mom's handwriting, and I guess that it must have been her mother's recipe. I don't recall ever having eaten them before. Of course, since I don't have a sweet tooth at all, but I love fat, I decided to try the recipe replacing the sugar in the filling with almond meal.

The original filling recipe saidCollapse )

The original Cream Puff recipe saidCollapse )

The recipe didn't indicate how many these should make, but I happen to own 12 silicon muffin cups, so I lightly rubbed their insides with buttery fingers, figuring that silicon wouldn't need to be "well oiled". It turns out that this much batter is enough to put a bit more than 1 T of filling in each of the 12 cups. The batter is, of course, delicious, as one would expect with so much butter and eggs. I really liked the texture change when it transformed into the state where it really does leave the side of the pan and not cling to the spoon.

When baking these I forgot about the fact that when one bakes with a fan on in the oven one should use a lower temperature than suggested in recipes for ovens without fans (my oven could be used without the fan, but the few times I tried it without it was so uneven in its heating, I have never done it since). Therefore the puffs were already golden brown after 9 minutes, so I turned the heat down then, even though it was 11 minutes early, and, not wanting them to burn, I dropped it all the way to 100 C, instead of the ~175 C that the recipe called for. After the full 20 minutes they were looking firm and dry to my eye, but, it turns out, that I had no idea what I was looking for, as they sagged after being taken out of the oven, so I took them out of the muffin cups to a cooling rack, and put them back into the oven at 100 C with the fan on again for an unmeasured amount of time.

The recipe cards didn't indicate in which order to make them, so I tried doing the puffs first, and cooking up the filling while they baked. However, if I do these again, I will do the filling first, so that it has more time to cool before I want to mix it with the whipped cream.

I guess that if I had tried the recipe as written I probably would have liked it anyway. 1/2 cup sugar to that much dairy and 1 cup of flour wouldn't really be that sweet. However, using the almond meal instead of the sugar made it super yummy for me, so unless I am making these for others who like sweet stuff, I will probably just use the almond version without sugar (also no vanilla, as I didn't think it needed it).

I think that these would have been even nicer if I had managed to bake them till they didn't fall, but even so, I was quite happy with them. I had four for dinner, followed by some fruit salad. My tummy reports that as rich as they are, two would have made more sense, and I should have had some veg, instead. But all but four fit on one plate, which is now covered and in the fridge, so I will find out tomorrow if they are any good left over.