For those of you in the Bay Area, Usaato is having an exhibition!
Place and Time: San Francisco Japan Town, 2nd Floor of Kinokuniya Book Store Bldg, Saturday, September 1, 2018: 11am to 6pm, and Sunday, September 2, 2018 11am to 7pm.
In the email advert I received, Usaato described itself as:
Making fully handcrafted artisan fabrics using sustainably grown cotton, hemp and silk: hand spun, hand woven, plant based dyes
Using high quality designer-spec construction and seamwork: durable, long lasting
Using an innovative fair trade model
“USAATO clothes are made in specially selected villages in Thailand and Laos practicing sustainable agriculture and known for their traditions of spinning, weaving and plant based dyes. The fabrics are mostly handspun and hand woven by their traditional weaving machines from cotton, hemp and silk with natural dyeing by artisan women in various areas of these two countries.
USAATO clothes are sewn by individuals and groups in worker friendly environments in Chiang Mai Thailand. These beautiful fabrics are unique to the various villages which is further reflected in the individuality of Usaato designs.
It is the Usaato mission to support sustainable agriculture, respect the village traditions and to bring a healthy economy and quality life to these villages. We would like to invite you to be a part of this Usaato movement.”
I’ve been without a microwave for a few weeks and it’s been difficult! I like making a lot of food and eating leftovers for a few days afterwards, but not many things heat up well in a pot or skillet. I am of course loathe to buy anything so I was lucky to find a free microwave beside a dorm dumpster. It works! It was even pretty clean inside.
I found the university’s free pile, where you can leave stuff and take stuff as you please. It’s pretty small considering the number of students. Maybe people don’t know about it. I’ve already gotten some good stuff! Handmade doilies, sunscreen, earbuds (they need a little glue, but still).
The apartment is a little less neat now. I got started on a craft project, so knitting supplies are (sparsely) strewn around the room. I’m making a pair of socks for sibling C! It’s my first pair of socks and I have to say they’re not as difficult as people make them out to be. Socks are certainly fast to make. The main difficulty is getting the two socks to be the exact same size.
Sibling C wanted the socks to be around 11″ tall, but I wasn’t sure I would have enough yarn so I knit the socks toe up using these instructions, with some modifications due to differences in gauge (see sock calculations). I used the Middle Eastern cast-on, gusset-heel flap for the heel, and bound off in pattern using 1×1 ribbing. If the cuff isn’t stretchy enough, I’ll have to use a different bind off.
My goal this year living alone is to produce as little trash (meaning stuff that isn’t recyclable or compostable) as possible. I’m doing well so far. I scouted out a few compost bins in the area, so I don’t need to pay for the local compost service, Shadyside Worms. It costs $20/month which, while reasonable, provides much more service than I need. They pick up 5 gallons of compost every week; I produce maybe a half gallon on a cooking-heavy week.
There are a number of bulk stores in the area, so I’m all set on that front.
I picked up a few more kitchen items from Goodwill: a non-aluminum pot for tomato sauce (I only brought an aluminum one with me), a wooden cutting board, glass jars for food storage, and a mesh strainer. Goodwill has 25% Tuesdays for students 😀
Since J and I only have one chef’s knife, I was planning on buying a new-to-me knife for using here. J wanted a cleaver to make processing meat easier, so it seemed like a good idea to get a cleaver to use as my everyday knife. Before committing to a purchase on eBay, I “shopped” my parents’ house for knives. I turned up a couple of really dull, low-quality cleavers that didn’t seem worth salvaging. I sharpened one anyway and it’s been pretty good! A bit uncomfortable to hold, but good enough for a year.
Melt butter. Add milk, salt, flour. Beat well. Add eggs and beat. Letting the mixture sit may help with flour absorption and lumps.
Heat small skillet (nonstick or cast iron recommended). Lightly butter. Spoon about 3 Tb of batter into the skillet and spread evenly. Cook until nicely browned. You may want to flip each crepe to cook on the other side as well, but it isn’t necessary.
Crepes can be stacked until ready to fill. If you have trouble with sticking, separate with wax paper.
I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get the free pasta rollers to work. Each one came with a roller portion on a stand, and a separate cutter portion. Without a stand, the cutter is nigh impossible to use.
Maybe you’re supposed to take the stand apart and replace the roller head with the cutter head? Except that the stand doesn’t come apart, and the head cross-sections are different. I thought that there were missing pieces, until…!
I was Googling pasta rollers last night (to verify terminology, e.g. “pasta roller” vs “pasta machine”) and discovered that some models let you mount the cutter on the side of the roller.
Wow! Now I only need one friend to help me make pasta.
A while ago, I acquired three manual pasta rollers for free on Freecycle. I kept one, I gave one to sibling C, and the last is in need of a home. The biggest issue with the pasta rollers is that they were previously used for polymer clay…
With C, the homemade noodle enthusiast, visiting, it was the perfect time to get out the noodle machine! We made two big batches of noodles with the fancy Grist and Toll flour + 00 flour to smooth out the whole wheat.
Then we went to Cookin’, a mid-century-European-cookware thrift store.
(stand for food mill, wok spatula)
Cookin’ was very impressive! They have a large selection of very niche items – not just one canning food mill, but 5! – and a large selection of vintage and non-electric cookware (e.g. hand-crank egg beater). The store is organized by type, so that all the wooden cooking spoons are together within the larger implement section, the copper pots are together within the larger pots and pans section, etc. Not everything is displayed, so ask if you’re looking for something specific.
I bought a canning food mill stand, which I haven’t even been able to find on eBay. C bought a wok spatula, which she’s been looking for at thrift stores for ages.
Cookin’ is kind of expensive, but the prices are worth it for those hard-to-find items. The prices for popular items (vintage Le Creuset) are on-par with eBay, but the low demand items seem too expensive (worn plastic spatulas for $0.75). The store specializes in European cookware, so you won’t find a lot of specialty Asian items, e.g. (although C did get to choose between 3 different wok spatulas).
Oddly, they were selling darning eggs as pestles. They do look a bit like wooden pestles (see canning food mill picture above), but the owner obviously doesn’t do crafts. At least I know where to find darning eggs now 🙂
As some reviewers note on Yelp, the shop is like a display of the owner’s personal collection of cookware. The inside is an organized hoard – leave large bags and hats at home to avoid accidents! Enjoy!
Sibling C and I went on a nature walk along the in Shoreline Park, a public park and nature preserve for endangered animals. It is build on an old landfill (and had problems with methane fires a few decades ago…) along the San Francisco Bay and provides habitat for burrowing owls, among other animals.
The main feature of the walk was a pack of baby ground squirrels on the side of the trail.
At first, we thought the babies were some type of tree squirrel, but they acted funny. They seemed really slow and dumb, for example. Great for photo shoots!
Ground squirrels are not quite as cute when adult, looking like a cross between normal squirrels and rabbits (I’ve seen what I think are black-tailed jackrabbits in the area too).
We also saw ducklings!
C also took a lot of plant photos to try to identify via iNaturalist. iNaturalist features a plant and animal-identification algorithm that guesses the species featured in uploaded photos. Most of the suggestions are spot on! Other users can also help with identifications.
After the walk, we ate dinner out and visited a nearby rooftop garden (big enough for a basketball court)!