Wednesday, March 12, 2014

an assortment of updatitude


... in which our plucky heroine attempts to play catch-up, (and remembers that baking is not an improvisational art...)

Last week my kitchen looked rather as if an assortment of small creatures with dark purple blood had come to a bad end. I offered to make my friend Ursul a birthday treat, and since her preference is for berry pie rather than cake, I decided that tartlets would be less messy than slices of pie as finger food. What could possibly go wrong?

I have several well tested recipes for piecrust of various styles, and chose the "renaissance piecrust" which adds an egg yolk to the dough, giving a bit of extra strength without making it tough. That part worked just fine.

I then started on preparing the filling... cooked down a quantity of frozen blackberries, then strained out the seeds, added some green apple pectin and attempted to then transfer the berry goo into the prepared tartlet shells prior to baking, with a teaspoon... this did not go well, but the real problem was that I had no way to judge how full to fill them, and my efforts to not have them look skimpy resulted in vast quantities of dark goo overflowing across the tops and into the oven, as well as sticking the little tidbits to the pans.
Though the pastry bits looked rather like they were baked by a demented fiveyearold, they tasted quite nice and were well recieved... particularly as the "birthday celebration" for Ursul turned into a party to celebrate her being offered elevation to the Order of the Laurel... sometimes our plucky heroine is very sneaky, as are the rest of Ursul's Laurel pals!
. .
good tartlet - bad tartlet - not tartlet at all...
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Kingdom Arts and Sciences this last weekend was quite excellent and quite overwhelming, with three rooms full of so very many wonderful artifacts in myriad of styles and techniques; as it was, I had been asked to be on the judging panels for two items, and that used all the coherence I had for that day (had stayed up way too late the night before socialising with my out of town guests, and then even later finishing up a project in the workroom. There was quite a bit of time to visit with friends from near and far, and I also managed to take a picture of one of my earlier Renaissance style pieces, made before the digital camera became so available, and hence formerly undocumented... am always happy to see older work and still be happy with how it looks
:::

In the last few days, great progress has been made not only on the "sampling of the new and various transparent reddish color enamels project"* but also on the Roman Brooch project... earlier, the basic design was laid out on sheet stock, and the foliated engraving done and patterned circular stamping around where the central disc will be attached. Now, holes are drilled in the engraved and stamped plate, so that the bone discs can be attached

a general look at what the brooch layout will be

This one has had four of the seven discs riveted in place; the other three will also hold a custom fabricated pin back to the reverse side of the brooch

Here are some of the tools used in this phase of the brooch project. I am setting the bone discs in place with escutcheon pin rivets. Two different hammers, nail set, cutters, and the modified rivet-setting anvil...

The central discs for this project, a little larger than the small discs, have correspondingly larger central holes. In order for the escutcheon pin to stay centered, it was necessary to create a miniature bushing, by winding cloisonné wire into a tiny spiral of metal, visible in the center of the disc I am holding

:::

* just as a delectable surprise, while most of the assorted transparent red enamels, from France and from Japan, fire out to various shades of transparent orange-ish colors, which are not at all the lovely shade of garnet we are looking for, I did find that there were a Japansese enamel that instead gave this astonishingly vivid and lovely intense pink! Once I finish the first go round of layered individual samples, the next task will be to do a grid sample of how the assorted colors interact, in the hope that some combination will yield the garnet red we desire.

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