Chinese hand-pulled noodles

We made a vegetarian version of da pan ji (chicken-potato dish) with homemade noodles! The noodle recipe is from an Asian noodle cookbook from the library, This is a book about noodles by Brendan Pang.


  • 300 g flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 155 mL (1/2 cup + 7 tsp) water
  1. Combine flour and salt. Add water in and knead 10-15 min with a stand mixer + dough hook (Knead longer, maybe ~20 min, by hand.)
  2. Lightly coat the counter with oil. Press the dough into a rectangle about 1/2 in thick. Cut into 10 equal strips.
  3. Hold each strip at both ends. Stretch and slap against the counter until ~8 in long.
  4. Boil 2-3 min.

Pottery visit

While visiting my parents in Austin for Thanksgiving, J and I went to a local pottery studio and gallery.

We hiked along a harrowing stroad ( to get here. So many driveways for cars to hit you at…

Compared to New York stores, the studio was shockingly large inside, like a small warehouse.

There was quite the variety of ceramic items at the store, decorative, useful, and both. I liked the following items.

The vertical lines are carved into the cup. The artist used a glaze that changes color based on the thickness of the coat, so the lines ended up a different color than the main body of the cup. I also like the particular color combo.
I like the “notches” in the edge and the little diamonds removed from the side. The decoration is nice but not overwhelming, it’s just simple.
J like the size of these teacups. Unfortunately they came as a set with the teapot (plus the colors are ugly!).

Great homemade pizza!

I found a great new pizza dough recipe.

Usually my homemade pizza dough is low on flavor, so a master-bread-baker friend recommended using some sort of pre-ferment (discussion of different types). I found an online recipe linked in the preferment article. The author seemed to know what they were talking about and it turned out super well!

Mushroom, almost-caramelized onion goo, blue cheese, mozzarella, and olive oil. Soooo good! The middle was soft without soggy, and chewy. The crust was crisp (almost cracker-like. I rolled the dough a little too thin). The toppings were well-chosen, by sibling C.

Pizza dough

Poolish (preferment)

  • 100 g flour
  • 100 g/mL water
  • 0.3 g yeast


  • 250 g flour
  • 120 g/mL water
  • 8 g salt
  • 5 g yeast
  1. Mix poolish ingredients. Leave at room temp ~8 hours. If rising longer, can decrease yeast (0.2 g for 12 hour rise, 0.1 g for 16 hours).
  2. Mix poolish with dough ingredients. Knead (7 min with stand mixer, 10-15 min by hand).
  3. Divide dough into four portions and shape each into a ball. Oil and cover. Let rise 1 hour.
  4. Flour hands, work surface, and dough balls. Press each flat, and stretch or roll into a circle 10 in in diameter.
  5. Lightly top and bake 6 min at around 600°F.

If using a pizza stone (highly recommended), preheat the oven and stone 45 min before you baking the pizzas. The oven should be set to it’s highest temperature (around 550-600°F).

If you don’t have a pizza stone, I have a workaround that seems to work well.

Right before you want to bake the pizzas, when you start preheating the oven, heat a large cast iron skillet on the stove until very hot. Put it in the oven upside down. The thick bottom will act similarly to a pizza stone, but heating it on the stove is faster than heating in the oven.

Modelled after a Marshall Farm-to-Pizza flavor, this has tomato (turns out the liquid from canned diced tomatoes works well as a “sauce”), mushroom, Brussels sprout shreds, garlic, mozzarella, and spicy pepper. Officially it was supposed to have parmesan also, but we didn’t add that.

We made this on the recent very cold day. It was 24° in the afternoon and around 10° in the morning.

New old quilt project

Sibling C and I have been working on the red and white bowtie quilt project. I finally finished sewing all the seams back together (although a second look-through showed that my initial standard for “good” may have been too low).

I assembled the back panel from some coordinating and some scrap fabrics. The brown floral fabric I mentioned in the last post is actually a large amount (maybe enough to make a dress), so I didn’t want to use it if possible. The tradeoff is that I had to do more piecing.

Planned layout for back. The big purple/green block is folded in half here, so the back would actually be larger. The blue and white and blue speckled-y fabrics are hand-dyed by me with indigo and turmeric using shibori techniques (!
The “batting”

I bought a lovely but worn hand-sewn quilt from eBay to use as filling for this new quilt. Reusing an old quilt like this used to be more common, when fabric and batting was more valuable. Old blankets or sheets, for a lightweight quilt, can be used as well. Search on eBay using the keyword “damage” or “damaged” to find good quilt or blanket candidates.

The old quilt needed some repairs to make it useable. Sibling C and I sewed up that big rip and padded thin areas with scraps of cotton batting.

Sandwiched all the layers (back, batting, and top), safety-pinned together, and rolled up around some PVC pipes.

We’re in the quilting stage right now. The quilting pattern is pretty simple, just outlining the red bowties.

Since this quilt is pretty large (maybe 70″ x 78″) we used a special setup to get the excess fabric out of the way when working on it.

Still a lot of quilting left!

Christmas is the time for projects!

I received a surprise sewing request from my dad. He wanted a replacement curtain for the bathroom in his RV. The old one was falling apart — probably rotten from the sun. The fabric was an upholstery burlap with an interfacing layer for stiffness.

We measured the dimensions (essentially a square with some topstitching) and I duped it using surprisingly well-matched fabric from Austin Creative Reuse . The fabric was only $5.50!

Installed, it’s essentially indistinguishable from the old curtain and from the old flourishes (bits with trim) that remain.

My first quilt project

Besides the two already-assembled quilt tops, my grandma had a collection of matching quilt blocks. I turned them into a small quilt (my first!) last Christmas.

One possible layout. A single block is outlined in red. There were also some individual white squares that I assume were meant to be turned into additional coordinating blocks.
The winning layout, although the white border wasn’t incorporated.

There weren’t that many blocks, though, only enough to make a lap quilt. Neither of the layouts I tried seemed particularly appealing (at first). I settled on the second since it wouldn’t require making additional pieces.

Sewn together and testing out border options. The seams in the blocks, between the yellow and white squares, didn’t always line up. I spent a lot of time when sewing the blocks together rearranging to minimize mismatch between yellow/white seams.
With a border, binding, and (most of the) quilting added!!! I took the quilt back to New York to finish the quilting.

Every step of quilt-making is more laborious and time-consuming than you’d expect.

Before working on this project, piecing seemed like it would take the most time. You have to collect scraps, decide on a pattern, cut and sew everything pretty precisely, and iron everything. Often people use complicated patterns that have super tiny pieces or need some fancy geometry knowledge. Check out the quilting subreddit for examples of fancy quilting projects.

BUT it turns out that piecing with a sewing machine is the fastest part! Sibling C and I sewed the binding on and quilted by hand. It took maybe 40-50 hours between the two of us.

I’m not eager to work on the much-larger red and white bowtie quilt.

Templates for the quilting pattern in the big yellow squares.

Bad lounge shorts + sewing tips

I made a pair of lounge shorts a while ago. This was before I had my sewing machine, so I had to do everything from hand. Not my favorite, but you do have a lot of control over where the stitches end up!

The fabric. A tencel dress I found in the trash.
The pattern. I drafted it badly. There were two major problems — the legs got too narrow too fast (I think straight would be better for lounging), and I made the waist have too much ease. Since these were pull-on, they need to fit over the hips, but I accidentally made the waist able to fit over the hips + hip ease.

Forgot to take a picture of the finished product, but it wasn’t that good. I gave them away sometime.

I used French seams but had a little trouble doing that with inseam pockets. And did a little research on dominant seams (whether to sew sleeve in first or sew sleeve in after doing side seam, or sew the crotch seams or leg seams first).

Bonus: A setting in sleeve tutorial