Sunday, March 31, 2013

Scrub clean that cast iron, Naturally

Not so favorable results in seasoning my favorite little cast iron pan. I admit to being lazy here, seasoning on top of an already, un even seasoned surface, (using a paper towel used to apply layers of oil, adding specks of fuzz), didn't help either.  seen to your right, le craPe sea son :|
Scrub this crap off and start again, but how!?

I live in an apartment, no access to a fire pit & not going to upset my neighbors, (smoking the place out, trying to burn it off in the oven). Sheryl provides a solution, oven cleaner, but don't want to deal with lye potentially burning my skin. With some research, found a way to make my own, inexpensive toxin free, natural oven cleaner. Had the baking soda, vinegar and the Dr. Bronners Hemp I have is natural soap, think I'm Set!

6pm: put the natural oven cleaner and cast iron in a zip lock bag; do ya thang!

12am: good scrubbing, re-coat with more cleaner, sit till 8am; Round 2!
(how the pan sat, image to the right).

One Good final scrub in the sink, (little more baking soda to help scratch out the old seasoning). I'm happy.

Where people screw up Seasoning a Cast Iron Pan! Too much oil! Leaving a lot of fat in the pan doesn't allow the layer to dry out in heating; instead, it becomes a semi-sticky, un-hardened mess. Sheryl has the best idea, which has worked for me, put oil in, wipe out excess and "cook" the pan for an hour, repeat about six times. Its a long process, but a) each layer dries properly and b) your left with that smooth, non-stick, seasoned surface. 

My pan is beter now, but if you ever need to strip a pan, and dont have access to the other ways, that natural method worked nice for me. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Nice, but functional too.

Sometimes, we just want an art piece that bring a smile to our faces, but I have this thing, when possible, to make pieces functional as well.

In getting back into doing my beadwork, I want pieces to be nice, but functional too. I wont lay out the ideas here, but when I get back into the street fairs, hoping these pieces will make you say, "Ooh!"

My little blurb for now, stay tuned :)

Friday, March 1, 2013

What next (in my art)

What do I want to do? 
    Make mosaics, stitching beadwork and creating buttons.
...What do I think will work?
    This a combination question for me, and where I am now. 

Back in NYC, I'd wrap up my wares, pack into a shopping cart and head to a street fair. Did pretty well, but exploring my options while settling into a new city.

For non-drivers, like myself, thought also goes into transporting crafts, (is it worth it). Having a pocket full of money and happy customers is better than repacking unsold wares to take back home, (especially if dealing with big pieces).

I've spent enough time "settling" into the city, time to get back out there.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

AmericanAirlines, and the new design :|

AmericanAirlines new logo ...its going to take me a while to get use to this one... 

I remember reading, in AmericanAirlines magazine, one benefit to Not painting the plane (leaving it that polished silver) was it made the plane lighter, (one doesn't realize How much paint it takes to cover a plane and the weight it adds to the body). American Airlines had a classic, simple sweet design I grew up with, and liked it. 

Without fully painting the planes, American Airlines stood out a little extra from other airlines. Painting them over now, for me, makes them blend back into what most other planes look like; not stand out as much with that reflection of the bare metal.

image take from:

Other airlines have wrapped their design around, center it nicely, or do something else to make it look completeThe flag design on the tail here, just ending flat at the base, makes it look unfinished to me.

I'm also curious, how much Delta Airlines' redesign influenced American Airlines', because it reminds me of Delta now, except the flag design on American Airlines is straightened out. Delta image taken from:

I understand, American Airlines spent a lot of time, energy and money into updating it's brand. Had they went around the USA, and showed the design in public groups, the final design might have came out a little bit different. Interesting to read the comments at the end of the YouTube video.

image from:

There was something classic, simple sweet to the look of the previous design, and time will tell peoples' reaction to to the new one. We'll just get use to the new design I imagine, but it's going to take me a while to get use to new look of AmericanAirlines.

*2 extra points if you realized this blog was done in Helvetica font and why :)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Improvement Possible at Baggage Claim

You arrive at the airport, show your ID, get your ticket, seat, and if you are checking in a bag, attached to your luggage is a bag tag, with a matching sticker to the back of your boarding pass. The current Bag tag has a long number, that matches the suitcase to the traveler. 

Most airports I have traveled through, people get off their flight, go to baggage claim, grab their bag(s) and leave. Domestic flights, there may be a friend or relative waiting with the arriving traveler at baggage claims to help yang that 50 pounder off; International flights, lucky enough to get through customs before the bag is pulled off & in that God awful pile to the side of the carousel. Side tangent: I find it funny, sometimes annoying, that mass huddled up under the beginning of the carousel, waiting like an old woman with a card at the Bingo hall (but again, many just want to get their bag(s) and leave the airport), no checking by security.

So here is the issue: What's to stop someone else from grabbing your bag?

Jan 7th, 2013, a news report came out on a group that was stealing bags at baggage claim, and some were quick to jump on the "ya see! public transportation brings crime" nonsense, when they made their get away via the light rail here in Portland, OR. Thankfully, many others understand this is an issue occurring everywhere, regardless of what mode of transit criminals get away on.

The issue: people want their bags, but may not like waiting in a long line, for TSA to match that traditional long number sticker stuck to their ticket and their bags, proving it's theirs. Everyone also, think I can safely say, hates when their bag hasn't arrived. I believe Security Improvement Are Possible at Baggage Claim, starting with that long sticker number.

Let's say, the average flight carries one hundred people, each with 2-3 bags, (that's 200-300 potential checked-in bags per flight). The barcode on the bag tag is for workers & machines behind the scene, but I propose, changing that sticker ticket agent put onto your bag (and the back of your boarding pass) to look like the following (to the right):

If your bag is the 284th bag to be checked in for a flight, that becomes a large, clear to read number on that sticker, which is placed on your bag at check-in. By adding the date, flight number and passenger's name, even on large, overseas flights, that would help keep that "check in number" in the 3 digit range, allowing it to remain in a large font size. 

Yes, we would have to go back to TSA agents checking to ensure that bag belongs to That passenger before leaving the airport, but this Larger number (on the sticker) could make it faster for TSA Agents to match passengers to their bags, let them leave and be one more step in deterring bag thieves at the airport.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Fry your own chips

I could go to the store, buy a bag of chips; already flavored, just rip open and munch, but got into making my own. 

I bought 80 tortilla rounds today, cost me $3.08 from Walmart. Cut three rounds at a time in half, then those halves into thirds, (so each tortilla gave m6 6 chips).

Heat some oil up to 300*F. (Used Canola Oil, cause it was there, but use whatever is ya fancy). Chips in the oil, fry till they were golden brown. Took about 2-4 minutes on each batch. 

I did 18 rounds, cut and fried in sets of 3 rounds. 18 rounds x 6 (that I cut out of each round) = 108 chips). If you want to go further.

$3.08 / 80 rounds = 0.03 cents a tortilla... 6 chips (which can be cut out each round) = 0.006 cents a chip... times by 108 chips (that I made) = .69 cents for this whole batch... & I still have a ton for another time. 

So why go through all a this? Its fresh, cheap, know what I'm eating, & can flavor them how I want. 

This is just my 2 cents on the matter. Go buy your chips if ya want, but this is my option. Can be something fun with the family, or have some friends over and hang around the kitchen before a show.