Friday, 19 April 2013

8-bit Adagio for Strings

Some chilled out, 8-bit loveliness. The picture is of some army dog tags (pixelated to be 8-bit!) as the original piece was used in Platoon.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Focaccia recipe

You will need: 
500g strong white flour 
7g sachet of dried yeast
80ml extra virgin olive oil
400ml lukewarm water
pinch of salt
good pinch of sea salt
few more drizzles of extra virgin olive oil

Mix the flour, yeast, salt, oil, and 300ml of the water in a large bowl and bring together to form a dough. Knead in the bowl for a few minutes, gradually incorporating the last 100ml of water (the more water you can get in the lighter the crumb will be).

Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. It is ready when if you press a finger gently into tit, the indentation springs back - if it stays pressed in, knead for a few more minutes.

Lightly oil (normal olive oil will do for this, or even vegetable oil) and put in a tea-towel covered bowl. Leave in a warm place for about 1 and half hours until doubled in size.

Once it has doubled in size, gently knock it back by pressing it lightly with your fingers, then knead gently for a minute or two. Divide into two equal balls. You can either shape them into two rounds, sprinkle with oil and sea salt and bake, or you can make them into a sandwich with delicious things inside! I always do it this way.

Shape the first ball into a large round, then add the fillings. I use a torn up mozzarella, some sun-dried tomatoes chopped up, some olives, a few splashes of pesto, maybe some salami. It's quite nice with Gruyère cheese, or some ham and basil leaves, or halved cherry tomatoes - basically you can go wild with anything you like!

Then shape the second ball into a round and press it down onto the first round and fillings. Then press your finger all over it, drizzle with more oil and scatter with sea salt. Leave this somewhere really warm for about 40 minutes to prove. The longer you leave it the fluffier the crumb will be. I like to leave it near the oven with the oven on low. Now is a good time to preheat the oven to gas mark 7 (200 degrees).

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on top (I turn it halfway through, and also turn the oven down to gas mark 6 / 180 degrees). Turn onto a cooling rack and drizzle with (yet more) extra virgin olive oil. It's lovely still warm, but will keep until the day after. 

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Single again

Just become single again. It was my decision, but it's still hard. I hate to hurt anybody. I'm worried that I am broken and can't fall in love any more. So I'm taking time to be creative, make things, write, paint, do. 

Looking forward to the warmer weather so I can go camping in West Wales, walk on the beach, on the mountains; take photographs, draw, read, lie in the grass or on the sand. It's taken a while, but I quite like me. So I'll spend some time with me.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Origami books

I saw some lovely pictures of crown binding origami books, but try as I might, I couldn't find instructions on how to do it. I did find instructions on how to make a blizzard book, though, and with some experimenting, I managed to work out how to do it! So after work today, I made these two little books as a test.

The little one is made of braille paper. The covers for both books are made from the endpapers of an old children's book about castles, and the inserts for both are from a book about badminton from 1972. 

The larger one's insert is made from the pages of the castle book, so there is a little bit of illustration and words. You can see the origami mechanism in the next picture.

The pages can all be removed to be written or drawn on, each one is held in by two folded triangles. So you just need to lift one of them up...

And presto! The page pops out. I think using a thicker card to make the insert would mean that you could store more than one page in each of the section. I will try this out.

I quite like the edges of the pages being torn, it gives it a nice homemade feel. They don't take too long to make, are great for using up bits of random paper that you might have in your stash, and they're cute too. Kind of a Victorian feel to them, not sure why. maybe it's because Victorians liked giving each other little folded love letters and stuff. I want to make a load of these - I'm currently building my stock of sellable things back up. I let my online shop on Folksy run out (the main reason was the way it was rapidly becoming more like Etsy, i.e. full of shit glued to other shit, those bloody octopus things, and necklaces of an Eiffel tower charm with a heart - meh), but I'm building up stock so I can have a little stall again. There's a few places in Cardiff that you can have a stall, I just need to make sure I have plenty of stuff to sell first.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Queer prayer beads

Religious imagery has always fascinated me, and I do love my little obsessions, so when I did some research into prayer beads I wanted to make some of my own. Not because I pray (though I do often ask the Universe to bring some joy into a friend's life, for example), and not because I have any gods (again, other than the Universe and the Earth). So my prayer beads are queer prayer beads. Each bead represents a queer icon, or symbol, that is important to me.

So they are arranged chronologically, from past to future. The beads are all 925 sterling silver, which is my favourite metal (plus it goes with all my other jewellery).

A pyramid, to represent Khnumhotep and Niankhkhnum
A deer, a boar, and a wolf, to represent the three children of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy
An apple, to represent Alan Turing (with whom I share a birthday).
A star, to represent the first queer actors, the first films to ignore the Hay's Code, and the first queer filmakers who worked hard to show us on screen
A blue glass bead to represent Derek Jarman's seminal film Blue
A wizard's hat, to represent Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (I always knew he was gay)
A rugby ball, to represent the amazing Gareth Thomas "Alfie", the first openly gay male athlete on any pro team - and also the second highest Wales try scorer (after Shane Williams, who I was in school with)

I'm looking for a bead to represent the Stonewall riots in 1969. If you can think of one, please let me know!

Fflwcs - Nina EP

Haven't blogged for ages, but now I'm back. I've caught up on my reading, learned loads of new things, got a new boyfriend, made loads of new music... oh my goodness, so much to share! Let's start off with a new EP. Remixes and refixes of Nina Simone songs. I love Nina, and I have loved remixing her music. Have a listen, I'd love to know what you think - oh, and they're all free to download :)

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