August 3, 2010

Two days of awesome

August 3, 2010 - Categories: cooking, sketches

image I spent Saturday at Lee Valleyís Women and Power Tools seminar. In the process of building a toolbox, we got to use a circular saw, a mitre saw, a table saw, a jigsaw, a band saw, a drill press, routers (both fixed and hand-held), a belt sander, a palm sander, and a portable drill. W- and I used a circular saw, a jigsaw, and a portable drill to build our Muskoka chairs, but I wanted to try out the stationary power tools like the table saw and the drill press. We havenít set up a permanent workshop, so all of our tools have to be portable enough to set up on the deck.

The class was lots of fun. I enjoyed meeting other women who were interested in woodworking. Our two instructors were both great role models: passionate, experienced, and engaged. Iím looking forward to seeing the list of autumn classes at Lee Valleyís and learning more.

Iím happy with the toolbox I built. The sides arenít perfectly matched and the wood has knots, but the toolbox holds together, and the little buttons that cover the sunken screws are so cute. =)

I really liked the drill press, the belt/orbital sander, and the table saw. I think our next major tool investment might be a portable table saw, if W- and I find one that weíre happy with. But weíll buy that only if we get into serious carpentry, like building cabinets. The folding table Iíve got on my to-build list should be doable with the tools that we have.

One of my classmates is into sewing, gardening, and woodworking too. Yay! =) Maybe sheíll come to one of my tea parties? Iíd love to connect with other crafters.

imageOn Sunday, I invited Maira to come over and try batch-cooking. The kitchen at her sublet apartment is small and sparsely equipped. W- and I both enjoy cooking, and we have a decently-stocked kitchen. So Maira and I spent three hours cooking up a storm: lemon refrigerator cookies, baked chicken, and chicken with mushroom sauce. There was a lot of food. Maira took home a week or two of meals, and we stashed the rest in the chest freezer.

Iím glad I invited her to come and cook with me. Itís great to try new recipes and realize theyíre not so scary, and company turns cooking into a conversation. If cooking batches works for her, then she can repeat the recipes or try new ones and manage her time more efficiently. (I spent many student days living off pans of lasagna I made for myself!) I also repotted some of my parsley for her. The large bunches of parsley in the supermarket made Maira feel bad about the potential waste, but growing parsley will let her harvest a little bit at a time.

After we dropped Maira off, we passed by Walmart to see if they had any sergers in stock. Iíd like to get a serger to finish my edges more cleanly and do better rolled hems, but itís hard to decide which one to buy. The Walmart at Dufferin Mall had two Singer 14CG74 sergers in stock. The Brother 1034D is highly recommended, but I havenít found out where to buy it in Toronto. W- volunteered to help me do research and check out Craigslist, which is terrific because heís really good at doing that kind of comparison shopping.


I offered to make him a green monster (vegetable smoothie), but I dropped the blender and the plastic shattered. It was the low-end blender Iíd bought during my student days, so I wasnít troubled by it. After some research, W- and I bought a KitchenAid blender from Home Outfitters. It turned out to be $50 cheaper to order the blender from FutureShop, so Iíll call Home Outfitters after the long weekend to find out if theyíll match the lower price.

As W- reminded me, a blender in hand might beat two in the mail. ;)

Iím starting to like these vegetable smoothies. They took some getting used to when we first made them, but the frozen strawberries and blueberries make them almost a treat, and we go through so much more spinach (and even kale!) than we do if we just have salad.

In other news: you know, this drawing thing is fun. I find it more fun than taking and posting pictures, even. Why havenít I been doing this more often? Maybe because Iíve been writing about these abstract things that donít suggest images, but thatís a good exercise for the imagination. Perhaps I can write these slice-of-life posts from time to time. I like playing with colour and ink when I draw on my computerÖ =)