Saturday, May 14, 2022

Lantana, again

Ok, take two. After the peculiar number of frosts over the past winter, only 2 of the 4 lantana I planed last fall survived. Since I was swinging by Home Despot this morning I decided to check out the garden center, and was pleased to find that they had some in stock, so I picked up 3 new ones to fill in the gaps.

The gaps:

You can sort of see the ones from last fall sprouting back up again. Hopefully they'll get established over the summer and be able to weather next winter ok.

The new ones are a bit bigger than the ones I planted last year. It just happened to be the size they had available. With any luck the head start they got in the nursery will help them put down a healthy root system so that they can weather the frost too.

And if not, they're only like $7 each. I'd just rather not have to dig more holes, to be honest.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Getting Baked

After the soda bread disaster a few weeks ago, I still had the urge to find a bread-like recipe that would work well for my personal eating habits. Mulling it over for a while, I decided to try making some biscuits.

Thankfully this recipe was anything but a disaster, and in fact turned out quite well indeed. I did diverge slightly from the recipe, which called for either whole milk or buttermilk, and used both whole milk along with buttermilk powder in order to create a super-milk and laugh in the face of god himself.

I tried one already for lunch and have yet to be banished from this mortal plane, so I'd call it a success.

In other news, I decided to try a few new things for my weekly cake baking. Firstly, I swapped out the almond flour, because almonds are not a water-friendly crop, and instead used buckwheat flour. Secondly, I tried the "reverse creaming" method where you mix together the flour (and other dry ingredients), sugar and the fat (usually butter, but in my case olive oil) up front, then add in the liquid eggs and the rest of the liquid. This contrasts with the usual cake method which mixes the butter and sugar together first before adding the egg, then the wet and dry ingredients, or the olive oil cake method which mixes the egg and the sugar together first, then the oil, then the wet and dry ingredients.

The result is that the cake batter comes together dramatically more quickly, and bakes up...

... well, the jury is out on that. It didn't bake quite right, but I later realized I'd accidentally set the oven to 375°f instead of 350°f, and so that's probably why it was a little bit off. I'll give it another try next week, hopefully without the "oops."

Still tastes good, though.

My Head Is In Stitches

So these cheek pads from my mountain bike helmet have been getting a bit worn in the corners.

The fabric on the outside is a rather thin knit, and there's a backing of stiff plastic that it's sewn to, so as a result it's gained some extra holes over the years of laundering them after I soak them in sweat.

Luckily, there's a solution.

After removing the padding and turning them inside-out, we can see that the fabric is actually lined with a thin foam, and that there's luckily enough material between the seam and where the holes are to be able to line the area with a more durable fabric. In this case, some bias tape.

Bias tape is a peculiar material. It comes pre-folded, usually twice, where the edges are folded in, then the whole thing is folded down the middle. If you're using it to edge a seam allowance you just leave the middle fold in place, but if you're intending to sew it flat (for using as a hem, or in this case for using as a patch) then you steam that middle fold flat.

In either case, you first temporarily unfold one of the edge folds and use a plain stitch along the crease to sew that side in place. Then you flip it back up and use a slip stitch (or blind hem stitch, which is basically the same thing but with less thread showing on the right side) through the outside of the other crease to complete the sewing.

You can also top stitch this last seam with a machine if you don't mind a bit more thread showing, and assuming the project will actually fit in a sewing machine, which this one most certainly will not.

I also added a little bit of darning to the holes to close them up, and hopefully the combination of that with the bias tape reinforcement will keep things in one piece for a while longer.

Although the other pad wasn't quite as worn, it still showed ample evidence that it would soon be getting some holes of its own, so it got a bias lining to reinforce it too.

With any luck these should continue to keep my head in one piece.