Saturday, March 06, 2010

My work was closed for Martin Luther King day. This was somewhat of a surprise, so I tried to think of a last minute activity to take advantage of they day. I mentioned a desire to visit Hamilton Pool located outside of Austin. A few co-workers (Ben, Bic, and Peter) decided to join me for a pleasant hike. Unfortunately the park was closed due to excessive rain during the previous week.

I recalled going on a spontaneous hike through Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve during a visit by my brother and sister-in-law. It was odd to drive so far outside of town only to hike just down the road from our work, but everyone had a good time. It was not a very strenuous hike as we constantly stopped to take photographs. My photos were put into another PicasaWeb album, and they are also available on my albums page. (I still have not decided if I prefer one format over the other.)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Today began with a plane crash on my way to work. I would have witnessed the event had I left my house one or two minutes earlier. As it was, I arrived at the same time as the police and fire departments. All that was visible to me was flame and smoke at the building's front. I did not learn someone had flown their plane into the building until I was at work, which incidentally is about a mile from the crash site. This made for a very surreal day.

As my mind wondered later in the day, I realized it has been a while since a new post was made here. One reason is a friend suggesting I experiment with Picasa Web Albums. My most recent photographs were uploaded there rather than on this site as a result. It does offer some interesting features such as viewing the pictures as a slide show. Visitors are also able to leave comments with is neat. I will most likely put future pictures in both locations. Right now you can go see photos taken during my road trip to Florida last Christmas. I also used a couple film cameras, but those images have not been scanned and uploaded yet. I will try to get to those over the weekend.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

My mother suggested I browse after-Christmas advertisements before purchasing a sewing machine. This worked out great due to a sale at Joann's Fabrics. It allowed me to buy a Singer Confidence 7467 at half price! Unfortunately my machine has sat in its box over the last year while I attempted to find a beginner's sewing class.

There were a number of classes being offered around Austin, but I always ran into some sort of issue. Mainly the classes were scheduled for days and times during which I had previous commitments. When I did locate a class I could attend, they were always full by the time I tried to sign up.

Well, my mother surprised me with sewing lessons as a Christmas present. She located a custom bag store in Fort Lauderdale, Sassy BB, which also offers classes. I attended the two part beginner course during which I produced the sweet apron pictured above. Most of her fabrics are feminine in nature due to bags and purses being her primary business. Luckily she had a bit of the fabric used to make shirts for Florida Turnpike tollbooth operators. It is a great way to remember my trip to Florida!

Now that I am back in Texas, I want to put my new skills to use. Joann's put their novelty printed cotton fabric on sale for 40% off last week. I managed to find some with a skull pattern that looked somewhat manly. Around $14 bought me enough to make two shirts.

I also took home red and black thread. My research said to sew the cut ends of fabric before pre-washing it. This was also an opportunity to see which thread works best on the pattern. Turns out I find both appearances pleasing. The first shirt will take advantage of the red thread's tendency to blend it better, therefore hiding some of my mistakes. Hopefully that experience will help the second shirt to turn out nice with contrasting black thread.

By the way, I also started up the dinner blog again. I will make every attempt to maintain it on a more regular basis this time.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Here is the latest hat I knit. It was finished a few weeks ago, just in time for our weather to start getting cold. This was a pattern called Gingerbread Hat. I'm pretty happy with the final project. A couple photos have been posted in the Knitted Hat album. The picture here was shot is some rather harsh light making the shadows heavily contrasted. I used some poster board to reflect a bit of fill light which helped a bit.

Friday, December 18, 2009

My work organized a potluck get together this evening. I decided to try making an appetizer this time. Generally I avoid those since most are better served fresh and hot. I found a recipe for spinach and cheese swirls which I thought might hold up okay. They probably would in fact be better warm, but they tasted good enough that a couple people requested the recipe. These took advantage of pepper jack cheese to get a little spice kick. The intention was not major heat but just another layer of flavor for everyone.


I also prepared a dessert for the party. Everyone at Thanksgiving enjoyed the individual cookies and cream cheesecakes I took. One consistent comment was that they could not finish the entire serving. This time I tried reducing their height by half while doubling the finished quantity. It seemed to work out pretty well despite the slightly reduced wow factor of the taller cakes. The only negative aspect was that I worked rather late cutting, sanding, and cleaning the shorter sections of PVP pipe molds. At least that was a one time preparation so I am ready for the next party.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

We received some rare snow in Austin yesterday. I recorded a brief video on my iPhone during our lunch break as proof. They had originally predicted a couple inches of snow would accumulate. Turns out it only fell while we were at lunch, and all of it melted as soon as it hit anything. We did get a deep freeze overnight. Of course all of the snow had already melted by that point. Hopefully clicking on the picture will play the video. I have been having some difficulty embedding it in the website, so this should just open it directly in Quicktime.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tonight was Imogen Heap's concert. She put on a great show once again. The opening acts were good too. They also came out to help play around half of Imogen's songs. I especially enjoyed Tim Exile. He has assembled some hardware and software to record live samples for looping and modifying. His final song was created by passing a wireless microphone around the audience. He recorded whatever words or sounds were made into it and created an interesting song. The video of him performing "YouTube Killed the New Wave Star" can give you an idea of his process, though he creates all of the samples himself in this case. I purchased the CDs from both opening acts.

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