Drawing challenge 5 – 7

There are plans to color 5, that’s why it’s only rough line art.

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Regarding 6, some of you will see it, some of you won’t. As a disclaimer I have to point out that I was watching HighRollers christmas special, and one thought led to another.

Remember that he rolled 20 for size.

I actually drew this straight on with ink, no guide lines or anything. The mind likes what it likes I guess.

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7 was boring me as a theme for a while before I remembered to see it less literally. I just wished I’d put “FLOWEY” on the other side, for better balance.

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30 challenges in 34 days drawing challenge? 4!

So it took me a while to get around to this, as the cat is sick again and I’m tired and I broke a lamp (I know, skills), so… yesterday I got to it. And I’ve been adding bits and bits and more bits. Still only using my simple pens, still only prodding it here and there without thinking too much. But every time I see a picture of it I see another tiny bit I can add, that I don’t see when looking at the paper.

It’s not “done”, but it’s “satisfactory”

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From the “start”…

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30 day drawing challenge… like a cat!

After years of wishing, I finally got (by buying them as an early christmas gift to myself from someone else) some erasable pencils! Col-erase to be more precise, by recommendation from one of our graphical designers.

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So to force myself to draw more often, AND to have something to draw when my head is too full to see anything, I picked up a 30 day drawing challenge. Which may turn out to be just a 30 drawings challenge, days be damned. But at least I started.

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The first prompt is “Things you would put on a table”. At first I felt ambitious, and that I should draw all the junk I’ve actually got on our kitchen table right now. But then I thought it’s better to just draw a little, but actually do something, than to just go overboard and not finish.

So I started with this non-photo-blue base (using a crap pencil sharpener – note: use the better sharpener!), and then I went over that with my ultra thin black ink pen

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The blue is actually pretty nicely ignored once the ink is on top, and I could probably go over the entire thing with an eraser to make it really well behaved.

The cat needs a ton of crosshatching done, but as she’s really a BLACK cat, I sort of just mind-froze and left her like this. All white. With no shadows. (I mean, she already has no shadows, because she’s so black usually shows up as a hole against the background – in spite of just being calico – it’s something about this matte almost brown tone of hers)

The pencils are quite waxy, which is comfortable in a way, but my aggressive lettering was so waxy the pen didn’t want to stick to it, which is why you can see I’d lost my patience by the time I got to the word “Cat”. (I’ve also extended the right window border by half an inch, because balance)

So lots of things I could improve that I see, tons of things i DON’T see, but at least I’ve started. And I’m pretty happy with it! It’s cute!

Protesh christmas baking

I took a one-day course in Christmas baking at the pastry studio, to learn some new tricks. And I did learn a lot. The recipes aren’t the best tasting ones I’ve had (I have access to better), but the techniques yielded incredible results compared to what I normally do when it comes to yeast doughs! (Main trick? Only use enough flour that it holds together. As sticky as ever. It’s the kneading that fixes the stickiness, NOT the flour. Stupid home-ec.)

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The other day they’d apparently had 22 people in that reasonably small kitchen – today it was only me. I’m amazed they didn’t cancel by lack of participation, but very happy with the outcome.

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In only two hours we’d made two loaves of traditional christmas bread (vört, a kind of slightly sweetened, christmas spiced port loaf), put saffron buns to rise, prepared gingerbread dough, made the dough for “christmas stars”, and chopped chocolate for chocolate truffles.

The trick to saffron buns is to NOT roll them together more than necessary, to let them rise more, otherwise they’ll get wide instead of tall. Also, let them rise (as with all bread) until they JUST feel like they don’t want to spring back when you prod them – before that they still have too much rising power, and if they sink down when prodded, you’ve let them rise for too long.

AND get this – it’s a lot better to have the liquid for the dough be like 30 C rather than 37. It’ll need to rise a bit longer, but everything benefits from longer rising time.

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The course description mentions other things than what we did, and I mentioned being curious about the promised candied apples. He said we wouldn’t really have time for it, but decided that we do it anyway. And they are delicious! I love candied apples, but I’ve never made them before.

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These “christmas stars” (in the shape of hearts) turned out to be my favorite. Not at all what christmas stars means to me, as I’m northern, but so delicious.

The dough is 100g butter, 100g flour, and 20g heavy cream. Brought together, flattened to a sheet and left to chill, then once it’s cold, brought back out, rolled out thinner with a baking pin, three-folded, rolled out, three folded again, and rolled out.. then cut into shapes. You can’t re-knead the dough after cutting, so frankly I’d suggest cutting better shapes than hearts to get the most of it! Brush them with egg, COVER with pearl sugar, let the excess fall off, and bake at 190C for .. a couple of minutes. Maybe 5, maybe 9, they should turn an obvious golden. We didn’t do timers.

The pictures don’t include two more trays of gingerbread cookies, another tray of saffron buns, and the lump of gingerbread dough that was left over for me to take home, because man – three trays are enough for one go!