Wheat Wrote WHAT?!

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January 9th, 2016 at 08:04 am

Pattern or Tutorial

The Question: What are the definitions and standards for instructional
materials came up in a “group”

Answer: They do not exist. … But they should….

This is by no means an exact answer, but I guess – a lot of opinion and a few facts.

Almost daily, I get email, phone calls, or PM’ s from my customers who bought some publication and find it wanting. It never ceases to amaze me the crap that is offered for sale – and I have lost sleep while wondering if they are that much of an amateur or if the author just did not care. I suspect usually a combination of both – especially lately.

Long ago I had a business partner who like to say “Cheap can cost you dear” and I have had the pleasure to work with many old school industry professionals on many different career paths who understood that and so worked towards raising the bar on publications and product.

So a better way to put that might be: There is a difference between Frugal & Cheap =

In beadwork, unlike in the YARNandTHREAD community, (knit, crochet, weaving, sewing etc) there are no National/International Academic “society” and there is no bead specific industry group and there are no organizations remaining professional organizations for “craft” professionals as exist for those who work with fibers and fabrics.

Without those types of organizations, Academic, Professional and Trade, only with a working partnership of 2 or more = there is no viable way to set standards – so it is continues to be the wild west. Even, to the best of my knowledge, the Japanese who have standards for just about everything do not for beads sizing

Realistically there is absolutely no incentive for such organizations to come into being and then to develop standards and work toward getting those accepted. Frankly if it had to happen again in fiber, I doubt it would be possible to get it done today because of the combination of lack of those willing to do what has to be done – at significant personal expense ( dollars and time ) and the apparent unwillingness of the majority consumers to bear the cost of more comprehensive instructional materials. So too small a market for quality.

Hell few know as well as i do that it is almost dangerous to even suggest that at the very least, accurate information should be norm. Because those who do so are often excoriated, ridiculed and told they are mean and nasty Certainly anyone “in the business” knows the risks of not only having higher expectations, but expecting those with a product to meet them. Not the least of which is to have those who offer substandard products and information lobbying a group admin to remove the person and then name call or otherwise harm their reputation.

Personally, I will not buy an instructional materials unless there some way I can see a sample of the quality of the publication. Ideally it should be a complimentary work – and it can be very basic – that will demonstrate the kinds of learning aids that will be included in their product.

I am a fanatic about the details – and if the sample work does not bother to reflect care and concern for enabling the buyer – then I am not interested.

If their offerings are clearly copies of anther’s work

I believe the sales description should include a list of “skills needed” as specific as possible and not some vague or arbitrary and undefined references such “beginner”, advanced beginner, intermediate, etc.

I know many would like an exact list of “materials used” available prior to sale but that is a multi-sided discussion unto itself.

What is included – charts, graphs, illustrations, etc should be mentioned.

Who is the audience? Obviously if the seller is the author and is selling direct to consumers, then their product had better be geared to that niche and have what is needed for those with the skills needed to successfully complete the product.

However, many of the free patterns offered by bead and other manufacturers of products used in the making are not really intended for use by consumers – they are meant to inspire you and it is expected that additional and instruction will be provided by the entity who sells you the supplies.

I absolutely agree Videos should be a supplement not a substitute for well written instructions.

At the same time, you the buyer have some responsibility as well. If you want certain features included then you have to be willing to pay for them.

Wow this got way longer than I planned, so stepping off this soapbox is likely going to at least result in a sprained if not broken ankle

Probably need to edit this more – but really do hope you will consider that there is more to your purchasing choices – instructional or supplies – than just price.

originally posted to the FaceBook group BWAN (not mine) 2016-Jan-08

January 3rd, 2016 at 18:00 pm

Pretzels

in: Recipes

In “real life” these are not as dark as they appear – who knows why –
pretzel
Like most, with New Year come thoughts of eating healthier – So long as you are not concerned about glutin – Pretzel bites are healthier than say chips.
And Pretzel buns make great sandwiches. So the search for a bread machine recipe – here is the tweak intended for the Bread Machine Dough cycle, I could have used the stand mixer as well, since only a very short “rest” is needed.
and because I needed something to do that would not be grossly affected by occluded vision issue today.
Recipe makes 24 Snack bites, or 8 slider “cupcakes” or 4 Burger size rolls
to try the different sizes, I did 8 bites, 4 cupcakes and two burger (except I kept some aside to try refrigerating and freezing “experiments”.) so only 1 burger bun actually done. The bites and 3 slider cup cakes did not last long enough to participate in my poor photography effort.

Ingredients
2.5 cup All Purpose Flour
+ .5 cup “board flour” & if needed for dough
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar or honey
1.5 cup warm water (75-85 degree) NOT TAP WATER – Distilled is best for bread/yeast
2.25 Bread Machine Yeast (if you try cake yeast, let me know how it works for you)
8 Tbl Baking Soda (I used a 1.5 quart pot, with 4 cups of tap water that have been left standing for several hours to allow the chlorine to disapate.

Here is what I did =

In 1/3 cup of 75-85 degree water,
add 2.25 tsp Bread Machine Yeast
set aside till bubbly
other yeast might work, but it “what I had”

Combine in a bowl & lightly wisk to incorporate
2.5 cup All Purpose Flour
1 tsp sugar or honey (this feeds the yeast, so don’t try Splenda etc)
1 tsp salt

In bread machine pan, add
1/2 cup luke warm water
yeast mixture – be sure to get all
Flour Mixture

Set to “dough” cycle – turn on and keep an eye on it – you may need to add a bit more water or flour to get a nice smooth dough.

This recipe is supposedly “no rise needed” just a 30 minute “rest” which sounds suspiciously like a rise to me,

while the dough is resting, prepare the bath – this is what makes it turn that nice pretzel brown with the excellent “shell”

In a pot, combine 2 Tbl Baking Soda for each Cup of Water
Continuously Stir till Baking Soda is fully dissolved
and water is simmering nicely

For bites, grease a medium to large size cookie sheet
(this recipe makes 24 –
for Slider grease medium size cup cake tin(s) GENEROUSLY
for Burger buns, medium cookie sheet (I did try mini pie pans and do not plan to repeat that idea any time soon. I forsee making a combination of bites and buns, so plan to try the slider size on a cookie sheet next time

I was recently gifted with this set of dough tools from Nordicware along with the Breadtopia.com Sour Dough starter and the red one worked very nicely breadtopia-nordicware-silicone-dough-scraper-set-sq-193x193
Using a floured dough cutter or other tool of your choice.
For bites and sliders:
1. cut the dough into FOUR (4) “equal” they should each weigh about 4oz.
2. Then for Bites, cut each 1/4 into 8, and
or For Sliders, cut into 1/3rds
Or Burger rolls, divide the full dough (approximately 16 ozs or a bit more)
cut into SIX (6) equal pieces or fewer for larger rolls

Once all your shapes have been prepared it time for the dough to take a quick bath.
Drop each into your simmering Baking Soda solution, for 10 seconds, flip over and remove after another 7 -10 seconds. Place on a wire rack to drain

Using a REALLY sharp knife, or dough slasher or safety razor blade – make an X slash on the top of each shape and place on the WELL buttered baking pan.
Sprinkle top (or not) with coarse salt

Some may appreciate that my slasher of choice are the Sculpey Slicer with Safety Handle favored by those who work in Polymer Clay and/or otherwise are a danger to themselves (but the Kitchen blades will never meet clay)

While baking, prepare your favorite dipping sauce – we like to combine a 2-3oz of a melty cheese with a Tbl of butter and sometimes other flavors like garlic, or 1/4 tsp of horse radish. Microwave for 10-15 seconds at time, stopping to stir. Sometimes if I want it thinner – a tbl of milk.

Place in preheated 400 degree oven until the “brown” of your preference.
For bites: 10-13 minutes
for sliders: 12-15 minutes
for rolls: 14-18 minutes
remove to the wire rack and allow to cool for at least 3-10 minutes so not too soft and doughy inside

Dip (or not) and enjoy.
We certainly did!

P.S. Cost of 4 Pretzel Burger sized buns in Stupid Market – $4-$6
Cost, including electricity $3.50 for 8 rolls
and they are freshier, healthier and lower cost – time is not an issue/cost/consideration since this is for “home consumption” and I like to prepare food

November 24th, 2015 at 11:13 am

What have we come to…

A few days ago I mentioned being deeply disturbed by season finale of Scandal – because that 2 minutes made it so very clear how selfish so many have become – this was not about a victim of rape, or a danger to the life of the mother, or even “knowing” the child was going to face extreme challenges physically.
it was merely done because a promiscuous person felt it would interfere with her lifestyle and desire to change a living situation – in other words for totally selfish reasons.

This two minutes or less showed less concern and emotion than most women show during a routine pap smear. No matter the outburst that followed, that just bolsters my belief that such a choice has many consequences, but that she really only cared about how to avoid the responsibilities of the choices she had made was more than a little disgusting. And, yes, it really did make me vomit.

Every day we read of more “demands” by the self entitled and often concerned about the level of narcissism we have as parents, grand parents, teachers and others who act in locoparenti have not just allowed but encouraged to become acceptable.

I really fear for the future when a young man from a multi-millionaire family somehow thinks that the color of his skin entitles him to a free education. It is exactly this sort of hypocrisy that makes it even more difficult to help those who truly need a hand up in our society.

I wonder how we have become so anesthetized to real problems that we encourage and allow ourselves and our children to become so very selfish and worse, lazy. And then I watch any television program, including many “Children’s” shows and realize that it is just one of the many tools being used to destroy our children’s minds as well as their moral and ethical development

There are and always have been so many real issues – like how being fired for refusing to cooperate with the sexual advances of the general manager meant also not getting even meager unemployment benefits and how that firing made employment so difficult for many years thereafter.

There are many stories to tell, each of us has lived thru them. But yes, we have to find ways to communicate the real core of the issues.

I sincerely hope every father, brother, uncle, cousin, just really every real man will read this blog article
and perhaps begin to see their daughter, sister, aunt, just every female they know in a new light –

For those who do even see this problem, but think their maleness entitles them to behave egregiously – well, they aren’t much of man – now are they.

And will at least personally refuse to allow such behavior – because then maybe at least some small portion of respect for all life will once again become a part of everyday life.

That would truly be something to be thankful for – a gift to all the generations to come

October 27th, 2015 at 09:12 am

Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers …..

If you want to make a difference, consider making a commitment:
because just sharing a placard on Social Media means nothing.

Last year after thinking about it – not shopping on ONE DAY makes no difference if you are then bright and early every day thereafter.

I decided I would not buy at Wal-Mart until they changed their family holiday policy for one of the two “purely” US Holidays’ Thanksgiving. It does, often, conflict with our policy about buying local whenever at all possible – but not so much after all.

According to my records (and yes I do keep every sales receipt) between Thanksgiving 2013 & 2014, as a couple we spent about $3500 in our local Wal-Mart – including RX Co-Pays.

Beginning November 2015 we transferred all his RX to another pharmacy –
Keeping in mind, that I do not require anyone, including him to walk off the plank with me, in the past 11.5 months, our Wal-Mart purchases are (including the co-pays in December while getting RX transferred) total less than $75.

Did this take some effort? yes, but I am anything if not stubborn when ti comes to something that “matters to me”

Did it mean paying more for a few necessities? Maybe, but not enough to change my mind. For example, a brand new super Wal-Mart just opened, so yes we spent a few hours browsing. Even spent 88 cents for a cup cake tin and 1.72 for a good tray for a bead tray experiment.

But I was also armed with my “comparison shopping list” which is a notebook that lists all the food & household supplies we use on a regular basis.

Turns out that Wal-Mart continues to be no more competitive – even with store brands – except for ONE item – In fact more than 85% of the everyday low prices were 10 to 20 % HIGHER than any other stupid markets prices. Including his RX Co-Pays.

Did it mean a bit of extra effort? Yes, it did = but it seems the one thing that temped me most – Idaho Potatos – is no longer going to be stocked year round. and the produce manager in my preferred stupid market lets me know when they are “special purchase” in his store.

Do I think many will make a similar commitment? No, and that is okay with me – we each get to choose what really matters and so requires action on our part.

Was it worth it? Yes, I think so – apparently both financially and emotionally.
We in fact saved money. Yes I am proud of myself – maybe I will invent a “Thanksgiving is for Families” chip –

Do I think Wal-Mart much misses our $$$$ ?
probably not – but imagine if even 1/10th of its customers – even just for one critical quarter – October to December – did the same thing…

Will I still browse at our local Wal-Mart and maybe “slip” because an employee was helpful in my “information gathering” expeditions?
Probably

Now on to preparing the “winter stock up” shopping.

Let you know next year if I am as incorrigible as charged.

Enjoy The Making

Wheat

October 24th, 2015 at 11:32 am

Menu Planning – when reducing the recipe just does not work

in: Recipes

For a variety of reasons, not the least of which is an increased sensitivity to certain additives (soy, corn sweeteners, sulfates, etc) as well as necessary dietary restrictions; I have been “experimenting” with making down sized recipes – not an easy task for someone who spent time after college in banquet kitchens, so more comfortable prepping for 20 to 2000 than for 2.

Freezing is the easy answer for entrees often an answer when it is just too complicated to really down size a recipe and desserts are a rather different set of challenges.

As a life long fan of breaking down a task so that it can be done in small bits – I have always “pre-measured” and then stored dry ingredients of many “basic” recipes. Some, like pie crumb & Pastry shells, even lend themselves itself to freezing. (by the way, I highly recommend the use of Vanilla powder over extract for just this reason.)

Some ingredients do not lend themselves to freezing and so can’t be included in the assembly line plan. “fillings” are often there and I doubt Marie Calendar is going to share her tricks with us.

That just leaves the filling and good as my desserts might be – no one really want the same one for a week straight so it does not ‘go bad’. AND sometimes one wants more variety to satisfy “everyone” (cheese cake flavoring would be an example)

So I was happy to see apparently the writers of the King Arthur blog have been getting signals from my brain – so not exactly what I “need” lots of helpful ideas in their blog today Freeze & Bake Tips and the little added gem about what freezes well or less weel was “hidden” in the comments so there may be more freshly baked bread and calzones in the monthly menu –

Enjoy The Making

Wheat

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    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?!Assumes ONLY YOU can properly and completely perform the necessary due diligence to determine your course of action in life or business - ALL article, like all on this blog, are a starting point, not the last word by any means. While I hope it is worth more, its value is exactly the same as what you paid for it – no dollars.
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