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For Want of a Nail

The studio is coming together beautifully, but is very much mid-process. I’ve got “before” pics stored up and will post ...

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Drive-by post today to share progress on the first Curl I’m knitting: Icterine. It is made of gigantic braided cables:I ...

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Lemon Poppyseed Muffins: Sweetness and Light

Sometimes things work out so much better than expected. The muffins I made this weekend were one of those things:It ...

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Frustration and Disappointment

I do not have sewing to share today. Hit another road block with my baby blue machine head. I will ...

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Baby Blue FMQ treadle machine

Today’s job was to get the Japanese 15 clone set up on the treadle and sewing. I managed to complete ...

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For Want of a Nail

December 16, 2014 1:50 pm

The studio is coming together beautifully, but is very much mid-process. I’ve got “before” pics stored up and will post those along with the “afters” when I get it all together. Notably, three of the four bays in the garage have lights!! This is huge.

I had plans to continue working on the organization this morning, and started by putting things away. When I went to put my tack hammer on the pegboard the pegs fell off. So I opened the drawer containing all the tape, and the bottom fell out. The picture below is after I cleared everything out and popped the fiberboard drawer bottom back into the side slots. But the back rail and the bottom are too warped to get them to play nice again. 


Yes, it’s another one of that sort of days. But never fear, I fixed it! 

I laid out the tools I thought I was going to use, and acquired a kitten helper:


My basic premise was to attach eyebolts at the back center and front sides, put a strong zip-tie through the back center eyebolt, lace a cord from a front eyebolt through the zip-tie loop and attach it to the other front eyebolt, then tighten the zip-tie to tension the whole thing.

The cord would help support the drawer bottom directly, and any extra weight in the drawer would increase the tension pulling the back rail forward, helping the drawer bottom stay in its groove. Perfect!

I didn’t have eyebolts, only hooks, but pliers made short work of closing them up:


I drilled a hole in the center back and used a screwdriver to help drive the eyebolt home:


Drilled the holes in the front for the forward eyebolts:


And then had a realization. The drawer won’t close if I have a bolt there. Derp.

Rethinking, I noticed Ikea had given me an attachment point you can see at the front of the drawer there, which was easy enough to lace a cord through:


But they hadn’t given me a matching one on the other side for some reason. So I figured out I could create enough space with a putty knife to slip the cord under the rail entirely:


But of course the drawer still wouldn’t close.  Grrrrr.

Not to be dissuaded I realized I could use my staple gun:


and staple the cord down in a way that wouldn’t interfere with the drawer. Success!


All that remained was to tighten the zip tie:


Restore the drawer to its slot and refill it with stuff:


And FINALLY tape up that pesky tack hammer that started it all:


In the meantime I found the errant plumbers putty that has been delaying the repair of our leaky kitchen sink basin. No more!!


Tune in later for the next installment of Adventures in Home Ownership!! 


December 3, 2014 4:17 pm

Drive-by post today to share progress on the first Curl I’m knitting: Icterine. It is made of gigantic braided cables:


I started with leftover BFL-silk, the first part of which was used for the DK weight Viburni:

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Then kept knitting:

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And knitting: 

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Until I ran out of yarn. Fortunately I have a lot more of the fiber, since this didn’t turn out to be enough scary wrap thing for what I wanted. So I spun a bit more, finished the yarn to be sure I had spun matcning yarn, and knit that bit into the scarf. I’m going to start spinning up the rest Right now.


Lemon Poppyseed Muffins: Sweetness and Light

December 1, 2014 11:23 am

Sometimes things work out so much better than expected. The muffins I made this weekend were one of those things:


It has been very cold for Seattle in November, and there was snow!

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Our home turned into a winter wonderland. I love being up here in the “treehouse.”

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I decided I wanted to make muffins for board gaming, and on a whim decided to try for lemon poppyseed. I love these, but it’s not something I’ve made for ages, and I’ve never developed a solid recipe. I’ve made a couple batches that were ok, but none of them were memorable. This time, I decided to riff from this recipe by Karen Butler. The result was delightful.

I am not one who believes in moderation when it comes to flavors, and these muffins fit my preferences. They hit your mouth with a “ka-WOW that’s lemony,” and the density of poppyseed adds a delightful crunch. I also halved the recommended sugar, so they aren’t terribly sweet. The bitter-tart flavor of the lemons is definitely strongest.

I see comments in the recipe on about reducing the lemon-ness or reducing the poppyseed. By all means, if that’s your preference. But I assure you these were devoured by all the folks at gaming this week, with moans of delight and not much else going along with the nomming. Perhaps try them as-is and see what you think.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins


Preheat to 375 degrees. makes 24 servings

Dry ingredients:

  • 1 C corn flour
  • 1/2 C sorghum flour
  • 1/2 C tapioca starch
  • 2 t xanthan gum
  • 3/4 C white sugar 
  • 1/2 C poppy seeds 
  • 1 T plus 1 t baking powder 
  • 2 t baking soda 
  • 1 t salt 

wet ingredients:

  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 C yogurt 
  • 1/2 C vegetable oil 
  • 2 T grated lemon zest (zest from two large or three small lemons)


  • 2/3 cup lemon juice (juice from two large or three small lemons)
  • 3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white sugar


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Prepare muffin tins. This made 12 large muffins, or would make 24 normal size ones if you prefer. I like using papers, and always give them a quick spray of canola oil so they don’t stick TOO well to the muffins.

Prepare a stand mixer with a whisk if you have one, or choose a large bowl to combine wet and dry ingredients.

Combine dry ingredients in another bowl, using a whisk to blend them thoroughly. This is extremely important in gluten free cooking, because the xanthan gum must be evenly distributed for things to come out well. If not it will create gummy lumps in an otherwise dry and fragile baked good- not at all the desired effect!

Crack eggs into mixer and blend on high to a froth. Add oil slowly, then add yogurt. Add the zest and blend on low- it will clump up on the beater and spatter the mix out of the bowl otherwise. (Just guess how I know this.)

Add the dry mix slowly with the mixer on low, and stir till just combined. The lemon zest and baking soda will start reacting immediately to make the batter fluffy; too much beating will collapse that and the muffins will be flat.

Gently spoon the batter into the muffin pan and pop it in the oven. 

Cook for about 20 minutes. I found the recipe got alarmingly brown on top while still being goopy in the center of the muffins, so I’m recommending 25 degrees cooler than the parent recipe. That means it may take a little longer to cook, but there will be less risk of scorching the tops.


WHILE IT’S COOKING prepare the sauce/glaze:

Combine lemon juice and sugar in a microwave safe container. I used a Pyrex measuring cup. The sugar won’t want to dissolve- that’s ok.

Place in the microwave on high for 30s. Stir. Repeat this, watching the sauce, until it starts to boil. TADA- lemon flavored Simple Syrup. 

Pull the muffins from the oven when done. Let cool about 5 minutes or until they can be handled, and move to a tray or plate(s) for saucing.

Use a skewer, chopstick, or some other pokey tool to make three or four holes in the top of each muffin.

Slowly spoon the simple syrup mixture (which will still be very hot and able to cause a nasty burn- be careful!) over the tops, trying to get the syrup into and onto the muffins rather than pooling on the plate(s). 

Let stand another 5 minutes. I know it’s hard, but some things are worth the wait. The sweetness and lemon juice need a chance to suffuse the muffins. Patience.


Ok, now try them, and tell me what you think!


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