Mending My Bread-Maker Ways

My first effort at sourdough baking.  Looks very flat, but tastes good.  It can only get better (I hope).

My first effort at sourdough baking. Looks very flat, but tastes good. It can only get better (I hope).

I’ve baked bread for 37 years and always used commercial yeast for leavening. I make lovely, high-rise, whole wheat loaves that have great texture and slice well for sandwiches.

Then, one day, I stumble on a series on food history by Michael Pollan called “Cooked.” I am astonished that the bread I’ve been making for years has no hope of providing health and vitality. Not only that (if it weren’t enough of a jolt), it, by my own calculations knowing a bit about the role of sugar in obesity, has probably played a part in my own struggle with extra pounds. The bread I have made is only the home-made version of balloon bread. Sure, it doesn’t contain the chemical soup of commercial food-like substances, but it misses one crucial process required to break out the nutritional value of wheat and make it available to human bodies – fermentation.

Not one to dwell (very much), I am on a new bread-making path. This is a story that I’d like to share not only because of the importance of spreading the enlightenment I’ve stumbled upon, but also to encourage anyone looking on. I read somewhere on the internet that sourdough bread-making is not for beginning bakers. But, I disagree. If one is to bake bread, one must start doing it correctly from the beginning. Or else what’s the point?

On to my next try. With my first try, one of the mistakes I made (which my second try will bear out I hope) is that I worked the dough too close to baking time. I got impatient with the process, decided to change the shape of the dough, then, as soon as the oven was hot, I put the dough in the oven. Result: it stayed flat, spread out a bit, baked to a hard flat “paddle” shape (as you see above).


The Studio Today

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Dear Visitor,
Will be at the gallery in Nye Beach on Saturday. Nothing special, just my normal volunteer gig. I’m curious to see how the wind chimes are doing. I sliced some curves of padauk, a South African hardwood, for the chimes. Large stone and ceramic beads for the “clappers” and jewelry quality chain for the cording. The padauk has a very sweet sound when clapped against the stone or ceramic and against each other. I’ve used faceted glass crystals for the “wind catcher” to add some sparkle and rainbows. Between the chimes and my tiny glass winged humming birds, I should be busy with sales from this gallery. I put a few draw string bags on Etsy.

Always busy. I have fava beans and peas emerging in the garden. Looking forward to new baby chicks this year.
I’m gathering stones and tumbled marble cubes for a decorative pad that will be a remembrance construction for our dog, Dalai La La, a beautiful pit-bull cross with piercing green eyes, who died suddenly last year. My heart is still broken, as any dog lover would understand. The pad is an arc connecting two of the arcs that shape my herb bed. When the pad is finished I’ll make a rain drum to sit upon the pad. I’m hoping for more inspiration, but at this moment the idea is to use a large ceramic pot with a snare drum skin stretched over the opening and held in place with a clamp that will be hidden behind a wrap of sisal or jute.

I can feel spring and see it in the fattening buds on my Montmorency cherry tree and blueberry shrubs. Not only that, my mind feels in renaissance. Lots to do. Gotta go!


Today In The Studio

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dear Visitor,

It’s still raining off and on, mostly on with a few “sucker holes” (that’s what we call them on the OC; maybe it’s what they call those little teaser sun breaks where you are). I dug a big ol’ nasty “Salmonberry” (Rubus spectabilis – a type of raspberry common to the Oregon Coast, sadly not as nice to eat as red and black raspberries) root out of the soil beneath my garden fence, Felt good and I got the start of a handle on a plan for my garden. There is this packet of snap peas speaking in my ear from its perch on the kitchen counter. It’s been a few years since I last planted any kind of peas, so, this year it will be February 1 (according to my plan with the start of a handle). I love digging in the soil; I love it better when the sun is out. I feel very blessed that I have a luxury of time this Spring for getting the garden in good shape.

I am nearly done with a Luna Moth sun catcher; just a bit of copper to trim, another close look and adjustment to the solder lines, a few rings to attach, patina to apply, and a final wax and polish. Wow, that does sound like a lot when it’s all written out, but, we’re really talking about an hour to hour and a half for such a small piece. I’ve done this moth before, but each one is unique. I’ve given him a “moonlit” background. I’m very happy with how he’s turning out. I’ll post a photo when completed.


Today in the Studio

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dear Visitor,
I’ve been tweaking the website a bit because it feels like time to get some things up for sale. The sun is peeking through a bit more this week; I’ve been out walking everyday. I don’t mind the rain for walking, but, it’s a whole different experience. So, now I’ll go out to the shop and get busy.

The Pelicans are Here at Seal Rocks

Yesterday and again today, I saw 2 or 3 dozen Brown Pelicans, Pelecanus occidentalis, on the large rock on the south end of Seal Rock State Park. The sky was breaking with blue and, as I walked north, I saw pelicans on Elephant Rock at the north end of the park. It felt like a gift to see them; they are my favorite seabird. It is my understanding that the Brown Pelican wanders between Canada (Southern British Columbia) and points south; a bit uncommon to see, they are related to cormorants as evidenced by throat pouches and webbed toes. Even so, the pelican’s pouch is enormous compared to any cormorant. They wander the Northwest coastline to follow food which they dive to reach and fill their throat pouches – releasing the water and swallowing the fish.

So, it is truly a gift for me from the universe to see so many and in one area. Spoken as a person who is thrilled to see 3 or 4 skimming the waves in view and then to disappear around a sea stack. I’m so happy to see them in such numbers here today!

Oregon Edge Studio Today

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Dear Visitor,
The holidays are over, over, over! My favorite day of the year is the day I feel recovered from it all. Sometimes it’s all too much for a pagan like myself. But, on we go . . .forth into the new year. Today I will organize my shop in preparation for work that I have been anxious to start. I hope everyone can feel as blessed as I do for having a space to work.
Cheers and Happy New Year

Oregon Edge Studio Today

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Dear Visitor,

El Nino has been crazy busy on the coast. I’m exploring the combinations of glass, wood, metal, beads, etc. searching for the illusive “tinkle” of a wind chime. First few tries were ‘tinks” but improving.
Have not abandoned the draw string bags; in fact, I finished one yesterday.


Oregon Edge Studio Today

Dear Visitor,
The sun is out for a visit today. I hear it will be brief. I have 9 pair of earrings in the kiln; my earring rack at the gallery is almost full. I found that the person in charge of placing items in the gallery has moved my fabric items front and center in the main room of the gallery. I hope they get noticed.

Had to replace my modem router combo today. Everything seems to be up and running. I think I’ll continue on the braids for my next drawstring bag. The last bag, became reversible (the bag’s idea, not mine). Time to dive back into that bus and see if I can drive it the direction I wish to go. I don’t like being pushed around by a project.

Oregon Edge Studio Today

Dear Visitor,
This morning I will work on some glass. Yesterday I fired 9 pair of earring pieces. Still in the creative process; I suppose with earrings, the creative process lasts until they are on the sale rack. Always tweaking them a bit to make things work. All 9 pair have a little dicroic accent. I feel that dicroic glass is going out of style for the larger splashes of the stuff, but one cannot deny the sparkle factor.

It has been crazy wet here on the OC for the last several days; looks like more rain to come. Cheers

Gilding A Lily, Yes or No?

black velvet redlined bag oct2015

I’m done with the construction of this little black velvet bag with red lining. Much prettier in person (as most things are). Still thinking about embroidery or beading or both.

The process, as usual for me with anything I’m making potentially to sell to someone I don’t know, is a struggle between making something I would like to keep (to the point of the struggle of not being able to let go) and homogenizing the design down to the point where “anyone would like this” which, in fact, is the point where “nobody would want this, it’s too much without individuality.” Sometimes I feel like making something to sell is like saying to the world, “I know you are out there, person like me, who will see this and see yourself.”

I guess I’ll just have to make this for you!