Monday, May 29, 2017

What am I making: Fashion Revolution Week (belated)

 Fashion Revolution Week was April 24-30, and I made this project during that week, but I just had not photographed it or blogged about it until now.  Only a month late!

Fashion Revolution is a movement  to raise awareness about the human and ecological impact of the clothing industry. http://fashionrevolution.org/


 Fashion Revolution Week happens on the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, where 1,138 garment workers  in Bangladesh were killed and many more injured on 24th April 2013. more than half the victims were women.  The day before the collapse, large cracks were showing, but the next day,  garment workers were ordered to return to work or else they'd be docked a month's pay. The clothing sweatshops in the building made clothes for many  brands, including  cheap fast-fashion  brands Primark, Walmart,  and  more expensive brands like  Benetton. People often think that    more expensive brands of clothing will have better worker pay and working conditions, but it's not always true.
The hashtag #whomademyclothes  is used on twitter for consumers to ask various brands for transparency about their production.

 In addition to the poor working conditions of many garment workers around the world,  there are large ecological issues with the entire fashion industry. Even if the workers are well paid and have safe conditions,  the clothing and textile industry  produces very much chemical waste and pollution.  The entire life cycle of a garment (from  growing the cotton, milling the fabric, dyeing, cutting and sewing) consumes so much water. It takes around 1,800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to produce just one pair of  jeans.
With the current sped-up fashion cycle where trends only last a few months and clothing is so cheap,  clothing is purchased  and quickly thrown away in huge quantities.  Americans alone throw away approximately 14 million tons of garments each year, and most of this does not decompose in landfills because  even if it's biodegradable (like cotton),  it is usually inside plastic bags or does not receive enough  oxygen to break down.  Clothing is not frequently recycled, and it's a difficult process when a single garment may be a blend of  different fibers. It's not like aluminum cans where you can just melt it all down.
I also  recommend the movie called "The True Cost"  , about the  fast fashion/disposable fashion problem.It's on Netflix and Youtube.

 I've  drastically cut back the amount of clothing I buy, but I do still like to make clothes,  it's a creative outlet even if I don't always need more clothes. Even though homemade clothes are not exploiting workers, there is still the issue of the fabric, where was it made, etc.  Fabric production has the same ecological issues as clothing production. So my project for  Fashion Revolution week used my own labor and used scrap fabric that I had left over from older projects.  The scraps weren't big enough to make a whole garment from, but I  combined a solid knit with a floral knit to make this top. It's a simple  cap sleeved top but the fabric splicing gives it more visual interest than a T-shirt.







Monday, May 8, 2017

What am I making

I made these tiles a couple of years ago in a ceramics class,  but I just glued them to a board and grouted them this past weekend. I'm trying to  finish incomplete projects and use up   materials from my craft hoard.

When I made the tiles,  I just glazed them random colors instead of having a set picture in mind of how they would fit together. So it is a somewhat random layout, I just tried to make a couple of sort-of continuous diagonal stripes. I don't know if I will use this for a table or just an outdoor decorative thing. It's about 18" square so it could be a small table but  I might hang it on the wall of the back patio.

I do  wish I had glazed the colors more in a planned way to make a more cohesive design.


What I'm nomming- cheese plate

 We've had some hot weather last week so I  like to make a simple, no-cook dinner like a cheese plate.
 Here is a particularly nice one I made  this past weekend.
Featured cheeses:
Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk- In the 1:00 position. This is a local California- made triple-crème, aged, cow's milk cheese with a brine-washed rind.
Aged Mimolette-  In the 6:00 position.  This  cheese  from Northern France is made in a ball shape and the rind looks so much like a cantaloupe rind , and then the cheese itself is the exact orange color of a cantaloupe.  It's really delicious and reminds me of an aged cheddar mixed with gouda.
Vintage Irish Cheddar  with Irish Porter -  In the 3:00 position. This is a nice sharp aged  white cheddar, marbled with a dark smoky porter beer flavor. I saw it in the store  and I was like, beer and cheese? Together? SOLD!
This is relevant to my interests.

Featured crackers:
 Original plain Triscuits.  In the center. Good old triscuits- still the best with so many cheeses.
Blue Diamond pecan thins- In the 10:00 position.  These are a gluten-free cracker made  with nut meal instead of flour. They have  an almond version too, but I love these pecan thins the most.
Wild California fruit and nut crisps in the 9:00 position.

Extras:
Abate Fetel pear slices
 Local California- grown  Strawberries
Marcona  Almonds- In the separate bowl. these are a Spanish almond that is blanched (skinned) and then fried in olive oil.


Sunday, April 30, 2017

What I'm nomming

 Time for another snack review.

Whisps Parmesan cheese crisps
These are delicious and crispy  and light, almost melt in your mouth.


La Mere Poulard French Sables
These  are very simple  buttery cookies,  but so perfect.  I like them with ice cream. They are  similar to shortbread but crispier.



Smashmallow root beer float flavor marshmallows
They really do taste like root beer. It would be interesting to try them toasted.


Cheetos Sweetos  caramel puffs
I love salted caramel  anything, but these were just listed as caramel puffs, not as salted caramel, so I was not sure if they would be good. I was worried they might just taste like super sweet kids breakfast  cereal. But they are nice and  salty,  almost equal parts sweet and salty like kettle corn,  so they are really delicious and  perfect for snacking.



Mike's harder blood orange 
I'm including this not as a favorite, but as an anti-fave.    Luckily I just bought one can at 7-11 to drink at the beach.  I  like  every other blood orange soda I have tasted, it's one of my favorite flavors,  and I like Mike's hard lemonade, so I thought for sure I would like this. But it was a huge disappointment.  It is TERRIBLE. It tastes like you mixed artificial cherry flavor cough medicine with artificial orange flavor cough medicine. So freakin nasty. I drank like 3 sips and threw the rest away.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What I'm nomming

These are some snacks I actually bought a couple weeks ago and enjoyed,.
 Right now I am  on a no  grocery shopping challenge, which is not to save money or anything, I am just trying to use up what I've already got in my pantry. I don't know if anyone else does this, but I tend to  do a thing where I   buy things to try them, and they are okay but not my favorite, so  instead of finishing them, I just go  buy something else. And it ends up with a lot of stuff that just kind of  accumulates and gets ignored. It's not bad enough to throw away, it's not really 'bad' at all, just not my favorite.  So right now I am only shopping for perishables like milk and eggs, but when it comes to  shelf-stable   pantry items like cereal, chips, cookies, dry pasta,  nuts,  granola bars, etc, I am not buying  anything like that until I really empty out my pantry. And like, if I want chips and there are no chips, I will make popcorn. If I want cookies and there are no cookies, I bake some (using up some nuts and chocolate in the process).
So I've been doing that for a couple of weeks but here are some things I bought before I started this challenge.

Icelandic Provisions Skyr- peach and cloudberry  flavor
This is like a thick yogurt but has more protein than normal yogurt. it's really good.  I  had a Finnish friend who  used to always rave about cloudberries, which are a  rare type of berry from Scandinavia.
Cadbury Wispa cookies
These are  shortbread cookies covered in chocolate, but they also have a filling layer of  fluffy chocolate similar to an Aero bar.

 Cherry Limeade Peeps
These are a nice sour cherry flavored peep with a coating  of lime candy coating on the bottom.  I LOVE lime flavored things and it is not a very common flavor, so these are my favorite of the limited edition 'dipped' Peeps.  I once wrote a letter of complaint to Starburst when they replace lime starburst with strawberry, in the 80s. They wrote back and told me lime was the least popular flavor.



 Lays Poppables in white cheddar flavor
These are new, they taste similar to  Pringles, they are made with potato flour and remind me of like a giant chex cereal piece.Sort of a mesh pillow  shape. It's  very light and  crunchy, because each one is filled with air. but that also means that even a big bag of them doesn't have that many servings. You can easily eat the whole bag if you aren't careful.













 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Slow vs quick

In the middle ages, there used to be a form of torture and execution  where they would lay a person down, and then place a large board on top of them, like a door. They would start piling rocks on top of the board.
They were not large rocks, and any one of them alone wouldn't have really done much  to hurt the person. Especially with the board distributing the pressure over the whole body.
But there were a lot of these small rocks, and they kept piling up. Eventually it would kill a person but it was very slow. And very painful.
I can imagine , at some point the person would wish for one large  boulder to  squish them quickly, rather than the pile of hundreds of small rocks.

 This form of torture is like life. Sometimes, if you only see one little pebble   piled on someone, you might not understand the person's reaction, because you don't know how many rocks came before it.  We never know how many rocks each person has already  squashing them down.
And  if you can ever lift a pebble off of someone, you might think it's so small it would never make a difference. But all those  pebbles add up.

Monday, March 27, 2017

What I'm making

I found this large candlestick thingy on the curb last week.  A neighbor had a pile of random items out with a FREE sign, and this looked interesting, like it had  some potential.
 I did not like the paint job, it was a weird mix of antique gold and a  strange  silvery bluish color.
I added a flat wooden piece to the top so that it could hold a large candle, and then I painted the whole thing in a  faux iron look.

This was a 2 step process. First I painted the whole thing in flat black spray paint.
Then I gave it a light misting of dark bronze metallic spray paint. The  mist technique is spraying very lightly, from   far away, and just a quick few passes. You don't want  full coverage, you want the base color to show through.
This detail shows the textured, wrought iron  effect you can get with a light mist of bronze metallic over a dark matte base.