Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Origami and Stocking pick up

DSC_7357    Just a quick post about the latest origami projects going on.  DSC_7365I have had a few requests for some additional koi, so I decided to show them off here as well…DSC_7373


And then there is the Foil paper.   i have had this stuff lying around for well over a year now and thought that maybe I would mess around with it again.   I forgot how difficult it is to make good foil backed paper.   Especially since Cheryl refuses to help me anymore.  However,DSC_7344  the results are sometimes impressive.


I just folded up a couple of dragons with the paper.  Nothing too fancy,  but the foil does allow more sculpting than the cardstock.   The bad thing is that is usually looks crumply or cheap.   And it does not hold it’s shape the same way the cardstock does.  however, it is still fun to play with and see how far I can push the paper.   I also made a sample of foil backed banana paper.   I’m eager to see how that turns out. DSC_7354

il_570xN_673807353_ff3w  In the end,  I just made this little dragon out of a 12 inch square.  If time allows, I’ll try to make something larger.  In the mean time,  Stocking orders are picking up with many many custom dogs and cats…..Wit names!  This is good because Cheryl has been riding a roller coaster between  il_570xN_674240246_hf1q“too many custom requests” and “not enough orders”   Hopefully, as the sales pick up,  she’ll quit losing her sanity and we’ll be able to focus on the fun part of the Christmas ride!  We shall see

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Dragons, Elephants, And The Joys of Old Apartments.

moldbehindtoillet For the last few days,  Cheryl and I have been dealing with a leaky pipe by behind our toilet.   wrong_tool_for_the_job_by_raresdk-d35viqjAh!  The Joy!   I’m not sure when it started, but we noticed it a few days ago, and contacted the Landlords when it finally got out of hand.  Towels, buckets and tightening the joints was not going to stop this leak.   So they finally came today and it took only a few minutes to replace the spigot.   Easy!   With the right tools…anything is easy! get-the-right-tool-demotivational-poster-1220997384    Unfortunately,  I got rid of most of my tools on the move to Iowa and have not bothered to replace them.  Which means I have much more closet and storage space now that I do not have a bazillion useless tools lying around cluttering things up.  IMG_0743 The bad side is i can’t take care of something as easy as replacing a spigot behind a toilet.   Ah well,   That is why we rent right?   So that someone else has to deal with daily household repairs. 

DSC_7227 DSC_7265 In the mean time,   Between  embroidering names and sewing on buttons,  I have been working on a few origami models to keep the shop up.   The large order I posted last time was purchased by the person I set it up for.  YEAH!   I love it when people buy my stuff.   Hopefully, these latest additions will spark some curiosity for later sales.   We shall see.   In the mean time…enjoy the pics!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Frogs, Shells, and Casseroles.

DSC_7194     My latest origami has been a rehash of previous models.  DSC_7189 Starfish, frogs, and shells.   I have been working on some other things,  namely an elephant and another dragon.   But stockings are picking up and it is about time to get back in to “production Mode”!  DSC_7154 This time of year is always a little turbulent as the money always seems to DSC_7170be too little and the stocking sales are slow, but  “almost” to the point where they require full attention.   Ah well…..We can only do our best. DSC_7173


In the mean time,   With all this “free time” available,   we have been experimenting with Casseroles of various types.    Cheryl's new book “Bake Until Bubbly”  3682fc9aafe00108cdf4a54eb4955628 Has a bunch of recipes but very few pictures.   I’m not sure I like cookbooks like that.   You have to have a picture to either “sell the dish”  or at least let you know what it is supposed to look like when finished.  I also don’t like  recipe books that have ONLY pictures and no “how too” part.   You have to tell people the process a little. 

Bottom line is:  I have the basics of casseroles down.  It is not as complicated as the writer of said book would have you believe.   AND I see why every housewife from the ‘50’s to the present seems to like casseroles. Italian Chicken Proscuitto Casserole They are a DEAD simple and a great way to use up left over's from a previous meal.   Basically  add all said leftovers into a large casserole dish.   Add in your favorite creamy soup ( provided one of the previous meals was NOT a creamy soup) any frozen or fresh vegetables….spices,  or sauces to taste.  Cover with Cheese and/ or any bread crumbs, potato chips, or bacon bits.   Bake at 350 degrees until the top bubbles.   DONE!   Easy Cheesy!th

I know there are the “chefs” out there that insist it is NOT a mish mash way to recycle old food.   Or a “tricky” way to fool kids into eating healthy vegetables.   There is probably nothing “healthy” about this method of cooking.  It is filled with Carbs and Fat!   But it is a very tasty and satisfying way to experiment if you are in control of the ingredients.   and you don’t mind eating this stuff for the next several days. 

full_sweet-potato-breakfast-casserole_0w55H5o4bCk2f I have to say,  Having creative control over what goes into these “slop buckets” is the make or break for me.   For instance:  I like CHICKEN in my chicken and rice.   The CHICKEN is the best part.  And I don’t feel like I have to hold back because it will “ruin the balance of the dish” or because “chicken is too expensive to buy for a family of 4 on your Dad’s salary.” 

Well,  It all worked out for me somehow.  Even with Mom at the Helm in the “Tempest of Casserole cooking” .  As I write this, Cheryl informs me that her “sweet potato and ham casserole” is up in one minute.   Make that 10 seconds…Better sign off and I get all the ham at the bottom.  YUM! 

Friday, October 17, 2014

More Dragons for October

DSC_7080    DSC_7105 Some origami dragons.    I figured I have to add something to my  log eventually. even if it is just pictures of the latest Origami.  In the mean time:   Stockings are barely beginning to pick up and I have been offered several commissions on more origami in the coming months.  we shall see how it all turns out.   But ultimately it makes for a slow blogging process as I find that what little time I have to myself, I end up playing video games and watching Anime.   Ah, such is the life of the typical American.

So enjoy the pics and perhaps I will have something cool to show in the coming weeks.   Or maybe I will be “complaining” that Sales are keeping me from my blog….(wouldn’t that be cool!)  We shall see.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

False Moral? In Fall? In Iowa?

DSC_7032 Nope!   Although for a second I was optimistic.   I have never heard of Moral Mushrooms growing in the fall anywhere in the US.   I have always thought they were a spring thing.   DSC_7039 But  then I see thee guys and I thought that Iowa might be an exception.   However,  One look at the cap and I had my answer.   The bottom of the cap is not attached.  At best this could be a “False Moral”.  

Being more biologist rather than botanist,  I decided to entertain my curiosity and do a little research.   After about an hour on a fungi key ( WORTHLESS!  Unless you know what those huge words mean!)  I finally did a Bing search and looked at pictures until I narrowed it down.  


DSC_7037 Behold!  The STINKHORN!  ( Phallus impudicus)    Not the glorious or appetizing name I was expecting.   Moral sounds so much better and Truffle sounds even better than that!  Stinkhorn?   800px-Stinkhorn_Springbrook It fits the fungi in question as the flies were VERY excited about it on this cool autumn day.  There were many on the lawn and they have a smell that does remind me of a smelly mushroom.  Although I didn’t find the smell that awfull.  


I guess  there are MANY variation in this family.   Some are rather striking in stinkhorn their color and structure!   I love the lacy looking one.  af2c01404427bc85b82bd7a7b72e4291 I actually think that the ones in the lawn may become this in a day or two.  I’m not sure how long this lasts or when it will occur.  I’ll have to see if I can catch it in the act as it continues to blossom .


And,  Of coarse,  I had to see if they are edible.   They ARE. .  Most mushrooms actually are edible ( meaning:  Not Toxic) but they are not eaten because either they taste bad,  smell bad, or are of a texture that makes eating them gross!  (No one likes eating smelly, bad tasting slime….even if it won’t kill you!)   Ok, let me rephrase that:  MOST people won’t eat gross things just because they are not toxic.  My family has always managed to find an exception to that rule. 

Folks in China, Germany and France remove the top cap and eat the fleshy stem.  I guess they taste like radishes and are an ingredient to various sausages.  According to Wiki, they MAY have medicinal benefits such as reducing blood clots.  And I would Emphasis the MAY as we have been told that oat brand cures cancer…only to be told later it causes cancer…..Let the patient beware!

thTY9JCIGH  There ARE actually GOOD fall mushrooms that bring me back to my childhood….whenever Mom was not trying to kill us with her cooking.   The Giant Puffball was the main mushroom we would find while squirrel hunting.  puffball piccata2 If we were lucky and found one, mom would slice it up and dip it in flour and fry it in butter.   A great addition to zucchini and wild game.

 shaggy_ink_cap_greeting_card-rfa8eb6c44cb745658ccb3f479ca14393_xvuat_8byvr_512 Another fall mushroom  was the shaggy cap.   Cheryl and I discovered these guys while hunting for morals in the spring.  

They also grow in the fall and, if you catch them early ( before they turn black on the underside)  Halved-shaggy-inkcapthey can be eaten and taste similar to the button mushrooms in the store.   ( I have actually eaten these)  I have lost much of my “wild food adventure” as I now buy most of my exotic foods from the specialty food section in the store.   Taking a risk on a food I’m not 100% sure about just does not thrill me as it once did.   Probably that is a good thing and I doubt I would have eaten ANYTHING Mom made for us.  ( I still think liver and pickled beets are Poisonous!)  Not to worry though!  She was always “food safe” and cooked it until all the bacteria, poison, and flavor was out of it. 

So if you are feeling adventurous….or just want to see a cool fungus.   Check these out on Wiki….and maybe give it a taste.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Dragons and Goldfish, Hedge Balls and Buckeyes.

    DSC_6966Just a quick post on the latest origami.   Another Dragon and One Large Goldfish.  DSC_6979 I like the goldfish as I was playing around with paper and just stumbled upon it.  I guess I could say it is my very own creation, but it is most likely I simply reinvented the wheel as someone else has probably folded a similar one in the past.   No worries!   I was not about to publish it in some origami journal anyway. 

DSC_6989As for the Dragon….Well I must say I think I am getting better at these guys.   I guess there is a lot to say about taking time off and devoting the right amount of folding time to get the best results.  DSC_7002 I am very fond of the head in particular.   Anyway, it is listed in the shop and the camera does not do it the justice it deserves.

  hedge-ball_webAs for the local things.   Today we found a peculiar object and the neighbor lady was nice enough to tell us what it is.   A Hedge ball!   I have never heard of these things.   I guess they are good for keeping out mice and spiders.  They smell rather pleasant although I can’t fully nail down the smell.  2230095_8939af80c1 I am reminded of a time when I used furniture polish to treat wood back in the carving days.   A hint of lemon with ammonia…or so Cheryl says.   I would think some type of cleaning agent anyway.   The Lady said that they are very sticky on the inside, similar to pine sap.  It is a pain to get out of clothes. 

I’m not sure why it was where it was.   I don’t know if there is a tree around that dropped it.   I DO know that the chestnut tree has been dropping the pods quite a   bit lately.  SlideshowChestnut I find these things very cool as they have a deep rich brown color and a oiled leather feel to the outside.  I’m still not brave enough to eat one.   They say that they are are bitter…Aesculus_hippocastanum_fruit

Bitter or not,  the squirrels like them!   So much so that they plant them all around everyone else's’ yard.  That might not sound like a big deal anywhere else, but here in Iowa…folks are very protective of their yards.  They SHOULD blame the squirrels, but they end up holding the tree owner responsible.  Hurray for the small town atmosphere.   So enjoy the pics and maybe someone will fill me in more on these “buckeye chestnuts” and the Hedge Ball.  Have a good one!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Claymore MANGA Final. All good things must end….

claymore_378_1024   And so it goes that my favorite manga is over.  I read it last night and felt that emotional tug several times.   Not only because the story is finally over.   claymore-152-englishAt least this small part of the Claymore’s lives.  But also the reunions, the farewells, and the final mysteries revealed….in yet another reunion.   If this all sounds vague…that is intentional.  I would hate to ruin the ending for anyone who is reading this before reading the final chapter.  

a04feba9d896273e96d51f1c0facdd99I would offer a link to an online source…but my past links are all dead now and I’m sure any link I would set up would eventually lead nowhere after a few months.   best to just do a Bing or Google search to find the manga.   There are several web sites that offer  the English translation. 


In other news.   Cheryl has been offered a Pearson job as  temporary supervisor that started Last Thursday!   She will be showing up on Monday as she did not get the job offer until Friday evening….Go figure.   Hopefully she can show up and work while keeping the stockings supplied.  As for me…Well there is always Origami.  My Degree does not lend itself to much of the Pearson testing portfolio.  With a little luck, I may get on an English gig in the Spring.   But there are plenty of things I can give my time to at the moment.   So enjoy the latest Origami


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