29 September, 2007

Yogurt Cheese Fiasco

I think perhaps "Fiasco" is too strong a word.

Last night, some friends and I went out for dinner. Across the street was a grocery store, so we went over and a friend and I picked up the ingredients for yogurt cheese. This included such wonderful things as marjoram, oregeno, dill, basil, sage, garlic, and some red pepper. And of course, some plain yogurt.

The idea is to remove the whey, or the liquid, from the yogurt, leaving a cream-cheese like substance behind in the cheese cloth after it's drained for a day or two. Since yogurt is just a flavor carrier, it should take on the flavor of whatever you put with it.

All the spices and yogurt were mixed together and then poured into the cheese-cloth-lined colandar. At about this time, I started washing the containers to reuse and noticed that the first one was plain flavored... and the other was Vanilla flavored. Not exactly what I had in mind.

Today everyone tasted the resulting product, and it's not too bad. It tastes heavily of garlic with some of the other spices poking through as well. Unfortunately, it's the right consistancy near the cheesecloth, but too liquid at the center. Perhaps suspending cheesecloth over a baking pad and pouring the yogurt onto that would work better? Also, I think reducing the amount of garlic and Not using any vanilla could help things a bit...

Anyway, that's the latest adventure.


(a) Volunteer for Life

As one may or may not be aware, I have a history of volunteer work. I assisted my mom with PTA when she was president, did tech for community theatre, and helped with my high school band even after my little sister had graduated (and until my band director retired). I enjoy doing the thankless behind the scenes jobs merely for the satisfaction of knowing I helped someone or did something of interest to my esoteric sensibilites.

I feel fortunate that my school feels a commitment to its community and to communities in general and that during my eduation I've been 'required' to volunteer my time and skills to help people who cannot do what I've learned to do or think the way in which I've been trained. Honestly, if personally asked to perform a task by someone I respected I'd likely volunteer my time anyway (ungodly college schedule permitting). Apparently I'm too nice. I also know that it's a good experience.

Some among us who shall remain nameless probably experience ego inflation; after all, these poor souls view us as experts and call us Architects though we are years from becoming such.

I always find it humbling. I know enough to know that there is more to learn that I ever possibly could and that I don't have all the answers, only suggestions and ideas (and admittedly short patience in some arenas). I will happily give drawings and explanations for any who ask and are open-minded enough to listen, and I oft find myself interpretting and explaining the work of my colleagues in their absences. At 22:15 I was undoubtly the last student out tonight, and I'll go ahead and apologize now for anything I got wrong while interpretting and/or BSing about the drawings of others for the last three or so people I talked with tonight.

It's also humbling because these people thank me for my work and tell me that my drawings are beautiful. I know that I'm not all that good, mediocre at best. I've always judged myself by my failings and by the skill of my classmates. Over three years together for most of us, and I know that I can never measure up to His drawings (JM), Her renderings (EM), His observations and insights (NM), or Her designs (SN). I have a little pride in my models, but I also have equals, betters, and the ability to see the faults in my work more than anything.

Even so, I know that I'll continue to volunteer when asked, especially if my rather specialized abilities, such as they are, can be useful to someone. I'm sure there's an organization with such a need wherever my boyfriend and I end up after graduation, and if I drag him along with me he might finally have to learn something about design, too.

26 September, 2007


Another post about furniture that I'm mildly obsessed with, this time KDDO.

Knock-Down/Drag-Out is a line of designs by Material Furniture that is designed to be assembled and disassembled quickly and easily-- and for the most part without tools. The main material is plywood, so the pieces of furniture are very easy to ship or store when stacked flat. This plywood is also FSC certified, which is one of the reasons that KDDO has been acclaimed on sites like TreeHugger. Some other reasons include using minimal packing materials (enough to get it there safely) that are easy to recycle, and that they support the use of local resources and small businesses.

I originally found KDDO on Vivavi while seaching for ecofriendly furniture to go in UMD's LEAFhouse last year, and of all the hundreds of pieces I looked at it was one of the most memorable sets. I may not care much for the chair, but I would be happy to have the benches, tables, and even the bed in my house (yes, I realize it's not a canopy bed). I'm fairly certain that KDDO could also evolve into some sort of reasonable looking armchair or loveseat without getting too weird, but we'll have to do if Christopher Douglas decides to do any more pieces.

25 September, 2007

About the Canopy Bed Thing

That's my fault. You could say that they, and similar structures, are one of my peculiar fascinations. I think that it's something about the variations in transparency and enclosure that exist over the course of a day in different lighting conditions.

Anyhow, as with most interior design things I'm exceedingly picky about what I do and don't like, but I can never quite explain what makes the difference. I do know that there are a Lot of ugly canopy beds like this DIY monstrosity, and that pretty, pretty princess beds make me feed nauseated. There are a some neat beds that I'm not sure are canopy beds at all like this Mauro Bertame' bed and this one by Belgian designer Kris Van den Berghe. I think I move around too much to sleep on one of these hanging type beds, but they're interesting (as much as sleeping anywhere requiring mosquito netting can be "interesting").

It's really hard to find one that I like, actually. Ten pages of google images later, and I've not seen anything that I particularly like, though the modern sort of ones above certainly trump the frilly and ornate ones. Furniture design is a fleeting interest of mine, so I'll probably just make my own if I get the chance. Maybe I'll just get one for the dog instead.

Canopy Beds

So, a canopy bed? I think that might be nice. They are certainly nice... I wonder if I wouldn't feel enclosed, in a bad way? Who knows- they still look pretty awesome.

Of course, it would need those nice sheets, 600 count?, to make it more comfortable...

Something neat to try

So, one day we should try to make some stained glass windows. Maybe when we build/buy/rennovate/restore wherever we end up living for a suitable length of time. I think it would be a nice to have something we made together as a nice accent... or something.