Sunday, February 22, 2015

Inspiration Sunday




Artist unknown, found on Trish Is Thinking Again.


This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Tutorial: Making Plastic Yarn (Plarn)

The cold weather here in the northeast has been pretty brutal this year. We're looking at a rather nasty weekend ahead, so I'm planning to cocoon myself at home.  I know I run the risk of going stir-crazy with family cabin fever, but if I keep myself busy, I should come out of it okay. I think I'm going to make "plarn" (plastic yarn) for some future projects.

Here's a little tutorial I've put together on how I make plarn.

Materials Needed:
- Plastic Grocery Shopping Bags
- Scissors or Rotary Cutter
- Yard Stick (Not necessary, especially if you have a good eye at keeping cuts straight)
- Cutting mat (Only if you're using a rotary cutter. Although, unless you have a dedicated crafting table, using a cutting mat will protect your furniture.)

Steps:
 Step 1: Open up and smooth out the plastic bag.

Step 2: Trim off the handles and the bottom seal.

Step 3: Open up the bag, releasing all the folds. Flatten and fold vertically to a width that you are comfortable cutting. I fold until the piece is about 4 inches in width.

Step 4: Cut bag across into 1-inch strips. (A standard-sized shopping bag should produce about 11 or 12 1-inch strips)

Step 5: Open up the strip and chain the strips together.

Process as many bags as you wish. One standard sized plastic bag yields about of 5 1/2 yards. Once you've made your desired quantity, simply roll the plastic yarn into a ball. Sometimes I get lazy or too excited to chain all the loops before I start a project so I just chain the loops as I go along with my project.

This can be used on any knitting or crochet project that requires a chunky weight yarn.


Here are some links to free patterns for the items above:
Grocery Bag Purse by Michelle Molis on Another Knitting Blog (the middle one)
Crochet Grocery Bag Pattern by Knit-O-Matic (the one of the right and left*)
*I modified the one on the left with the body of the Knit-O-Matic pattern and then handle of the bag by Michelle Mois.




Sunday, February 15, 2015

Inspiration Sunday



Artist Unknown, found on Trish Is Thinking Again.

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Proscuitto

One of my great indulgences is a long and unhurried luxurious breakfast.  I treat myself to one every Saturday or Sunday morning, when I don't have to push anyone or myself, out the door for school or work. It's a welcome change from the workday morning rush.

For these days, an egg dish is my breakfast of choice. I enjoy the forced patience required to make the perfect poached egg*.

I recently discovered the sublime yumminess of avocado toast.



Avocado Toast with Poached Egg and Prosciutto

Ingredients:
1 slice whole grain bread
1 small ripe avocado
salt
pepper
lime juice
1 slice prosciutto
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
1 poached egg
Chopped parsley or basil or cilantro to garnish

Method:
  1. Turn on your broiler to low.
  2. Scoop out the flesh of a small ripe avocado. Mash with a fork to desired consistency (I prefer it a little chunky). Season with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  3. On a lightly toasted slice of bread, spread the mashed over it.
  4. Lay down a thin slice of prosciutto.
  5. Lay down a slice of cheese.
  6. Poach the egg according to your own desired method.
  7. Without the egg, place the entire piece under the broiler to melt the cheese.
  8. Once you've achieved the desired doneness for your egg and melted cheese, gently lay the egg on top of the cheese.
  9. Garnish and season with parsley, basil, or cilantro, salt and pepper.

Serves 1.


*The "perfect"poached egg is pretty subjective.  I like mine with thick yolks whose edges are just about to turn firm.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Getting Over the Hump... Day

I'm in a writing slump right now and trying to get my act together to pick up where I left off on my work-in-progress.  Amy Holiday's #30Shorts challenge was great to jump start my muscles, but I couldn't keep up.

I'm picking up a couple of my writing reference/inspiration books to help get myself back on the wagon. I thought you might find them helpful too:



Just fifteen minutes a day after each chapter truly helps warm up the connection from my brain to my fingers.


Writing a novel is hard work, but Nathan's "It can be done!" attitude is always so encouraging.

 
From Natalie, I learned about "free writing" and how liberating it can be.  Keep the pen tip on the paper. Keep your hand moving forward; writing down one word after the other as it comes to you. Never go back to cross anything out.  I turn to this exercise when I am at my most fearful or anxious about my writing.



This is my "go to" resource when all else fails. It really is okay to write that shitty first draft. Also, the one-inch picture frame exercise is something I use when I need to distill the jumbled thoughts in my head, both in my writing life and work life.  Plus, I think it would make a cool writing workshop exercise on honing your description skills.


Tell me, what resources or references do you turn to for help getting over your writing humps?

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Inspiration Sunday


Love Letters Only, by Elyse via Flickr.

Shown here under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

This prompt is yours to draw inspiration from. If you use it, and decide to post the resulting piece on your blog, or other online forum that hosts your writing, let me know in the comments section. I'll make sure to drop by and share my thoughts.