Blender is Fun!

Teddy Bear made with Blender

If you are like me, you enjoyed The Incredibles, Despicable Me and all the other cool movies that have come out over the past several years using 3D computer animation. The programs that are used to create this stuff is pricey, really pricey. Except one. That program is Blender from Blender.org. You can just go on and download the program FOR FREE!!

I know what you are thinking, how can a free program be anywhere close to a program that costs thousands of dollars…well, Blender is pretty amazing and there is a large community of Blender artists out there making really great animations. Plus there are tons of tutorials available on the internet.

If you or someone you know interested in learning 3D art or animation, you should check out Blender. It is a great way to get intoNapkin with Glass the world of computer animation without spending tons of money. Now, the learning curve is pretty steep but if you hang in there and stick with it you can pick stuff up and make progress at your own pace. The images on this post are things that I made while following along on a couple of tutorials.

Get out there and try it, all it is going to cost is a little time to learn.

HAVE FUN!!

Book Restoration Continued: Mending Tears

 

Title Page, ABH

Title Page, ABH

 

Our sheets have been guarded and put under weight for a few days. Now we need to repair the torn pages. There are a few large tears, especially on the page that was pulled out and used as house plans. I am following the instructions in Edith Diehl’s Bookbinding, Its Background and Technique (Vol. 2, page 53).

Starting with the front of the book, I examined each page for tears. If they were good I set them aside, if they needed mending these are the steps I am following:

Check for bevel. Most of the time when a page is torn there is a taper at the edges of the tear. I will make sure the bevel is lined back up so the fibers will re-align.

Cut tissue. I cut small pieces of Japanese tissue a little bit larger than the torn area.

Glue up. Using a very small brush I apply glue along the torn edges.

Press in tissue. With one piece of tissue under the tear and another on top I press the area with my bone folder (wax paper provides protection from rubbing and pulling.

These steps are repeated for every tear. When the tears have dried completely, in a few hours to be safe, I will pull the tissue up from the pages. This will leave a few strands of the Japanese tissue to reinforce the repair. The entire process has taken about 2 hours for this particular book, if there was just one tear the whole job would have only taken a few minutes.

The next step will be some light trimming and then arranging the signatures for sewing. Once the signatures are sewn I will add mull, glue up the spine and then do some more edge work.

That’s it for now. I think we are almost to the half way point for this project. I am not usually a very patient person so this has been a bit of a challenge to work on something so tedious. Good therapy I guess…

Thanks again for reading all this silliness, see ya!

 

Melting Pot #7

mmmmmm...sloppy!!

mmmmmm…sloppy!!

 

Sloppy Joes!!

This is one of those ultimate All American type meals. When I am feeling lazy and don’t want to work hard this is one of my go to things to make. Don’t use those instant packets at the store, there is just a mountain of salt in there.

You will need:

1 1/2 pounds ground beef, 1 large tomato chopped up, 1 tennis ball size onion chopped up, BBQ sauce, ketchup, spicy mustard, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, pepper and white wine.

After everything is chopped and ready, throw the beef into a sauce pan. Get it browning and add a pinch of salt and some pepper. Stir in the onions and get them nice and translucent. Add garlic powder, maybe a teaspoon, perhaps more or less, depending on your preference. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to a low simmer. As the liquid has reduced put in 1/4 cup ketchup, tablespoon of spicy mustard (I use Chinese mustard), 1/8 cup of BBQ sauce (something with a smoky flavor) and a couple of splashes of the Worcestershire sauce.  Stir everything well, add 1/8 cup of wine. Simmer until liquid is reduced.

Serve on a hamburger bun, I like whole wheat. This goes great with coleslaw, either on the side or some people like the slaw on the bun. Also some ridged potato chips.

This will serve four of five people. To do more just up the amounts. You can add more BBQ or spicy mustard to taste. Hot sauce might be nice but the whole hot sauce thing is a bit played out.

Enjoy!!

A Recent Book Find

La Cuisiniere

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got a booth at a book fair to sell some of my books. I did alright, covered my expenses at least. I did buy a book though…it’s hard to pass something cool up I guess…

This is a French cookbook from about 1900. The title is ‘La Cuisiniere des Menages’, which translates to  ‘The Cooker Cook of the House.  It is a great little book, 536 pages including the index. I am not very good with French, but this book is the whole method (1900’s style) of French cookery. It starts with kitchen terms, then goes into tools, butchering and then cooking. I will probably have to start learning some French now!

The book does need a little repair at the front hinge, just some cloth to hold the hinge together. Not a big deal, more of a conservation item than an actual repair.

Anyhow, here is the cover of the book. I may redraw this so I can print it out larger. Let me know what you think.

 

 

Book Restoration Continued…Guarding Sheets

Elevation of Victorian home from ABH

Elevation of Victorian home from ABH

 

 

 

So our book has been sitting with baking soda for a week. I brushed off the soda, the pages don’t have the musty smell anymore! The next step will be to guard the pages and then repair tears. First I will guard all the pages and rejoin the two sheets that are split, then do repairs of the tears.

I started the process by cutting little strips of Japanese paper for the guards. They are 3/8″ wide and about the height of the text block. To speed things along I folded the paper over several times, then using my dividers I marked a strip. When I cut with my snap razor I got 6 strips at a time. I also cut some 1/2″ strips because a few sheets had much larger areas missing.

When I had the strips cut I took my time and pasted one strip to the outside of each sheet. There were a few sheets that didn’t need anything so I left those alone. There will be a fair amount of swelling anyway so if I could save some space I did it. This process took about 8 hours total for gluing and application.

Once everything was glued and dried I re-folded the signatures and have them under weight for a bit to compress the swell. Starting tomorrow I begin repairing tears. Once the tears are taken care of the sewing will begin. My goal is to have this book in boards by the end of next week.

Melting Pot #6

Irish Stew

Yummy stuff on a chilly day. Irish stew is one of those easy to mess up things. It seems super simple but if you get too carried away you can end up with something that is less than appealing.

The final product. It was delicious!

The final product. It was delicious!

Generally speaking, a stew is sort of a soup but with bigger chunks of goodness. For my version I use beef, some lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, a bottle of beer, salt pepper, corn and green beans. You can add other vegetables like turnips, celery, cabbage, etc. Avoid the sissy vegetables like cauliflower.

First, chop up two baseball size onions into a medium dice. Set them aside.

Peel and cut up two or three carrots. You want about a cup of carrots so what ever that works out to, go for it.

Get your locally sourced beef and lamb ready to go. By locally sourced I mean the super market that is closest to your house. I take the beef, usually about two pounds, and rinse it off. The lamb, usually just a couple of chops are cut up into cubes. In a deep pot I render off some bacon. Then add some oil, a few tablespoons or so.

Start browning the meat. Before you put the meat in the pot, dry it off. This helps them meat to actually caramelize and

The brownin' o' the meat...

The brownin’ o’ the meat…

not go grey and boiled looking. Add beef until the bottom of the pot is almost covered, leave enough room to turn your meat. Brown it on all sides and then remove. Do this until all the beef is browned. Do the same thing for the lamb.

After browning drain off most of the oil at the bottom of the pot. Bring the pot back to temperature and throw in your onions. Stir them around, add a pinch of salt to help break down the onions. Once they start to look a little translucent throw in your carrots. Mix everything around so it seems like you are a chef.

Vegetables simmering with beer. Meat waiting to dive in.

Vegetables simmering with beer. Meat waiting to dive in.

Turn the temperature down a little and dump in a bottle of beer. NOT one of those giant bottles of Budweiser that you can buy at the CVS for a $1.49. Use a bottle of dark something…Harp, Guinness, Sapporo…you know, something made by people who care. Use a 12 bottle. This time around I used Newcastle Browne. Simmer that down and let it reduce.

As that that is happening peel and cut your spuds. When you cut them make sure they are pretty good size chunks, about the same size as the stew beef pieces. Put them in a separate pot to cook.

Go back to the stew pot and stir, scraping all the good brown bits off the bottom. Add back the meat, including the bacon that you used to render. Stir things around a little. Add water to just cover everything. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Add some pepper and salt and a couple of bay leaves. Cover. Have a beer.

When the potatoes get to the point that they are almost done, drain them out but do not rinse them. Set the potatoes aside to cool. If you have a big pan you can spread them out on even better. As they cool they will get a starchy coat which will help them stay firm in the stew and keep a nice ‘bitey’ texture.

After about an hour check the stew. The meat should start getting softer. It may take a lot longer, maybe just a little. You want the beef to come apart under a fork. If you have to work at it there is some more cooking to be done. You may have to add a little more water, but not too much. You really want as little juice as possible.

When the beef is right fold in the potatoes. Be gentle, you don’t want mashed spuds! After this add corn and green beans. I use frozen veggies so let the temperature of the stew come back to a boil and you are ready to serve.

Serve with some bread and butter along with a nice beer and you have a meal fit for a peasant.

I am sure you will have a completely different way of making stew, but that is only because the Irish are a confused lot. I am sure however you do it is fine. Wrong, but fine.

What a week!

My Saturday, in a nutshell...

My Saturday, in a nutshell…

 

 

 

 

So, last Saturday I am laying in bed, a beautiful morning, thinking about stuff I was going to do. The doorbell rings…it is a neighbor. Someone smashed out two of the windows on my van. $500 and a day wasted later I was completely burnt out. Why do people do petty stuff like this?

Well, it threw me off my game a little and I didn’t post some of the stuff I wanted. Now I will try to get caught up. Stay tuned for lot’s of cool junk heading your way!