Posted by: brothermalthus | June 12, 2013

Taste of things to come

I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last post! Working full-time, a new house, 11 chickens, 2 ducks and all the chores that come with really takes up a lot of time.

Anyways, here’s a sneak peek at my latest experiment:


Posted by: brothermalthus | January 5, 2013

Changes are a Comin’

Many things have happened and are happening since moving to Salt Lake City; too many to detail with the little time I have as I wright.  Coming attractions include: latest sewing projects, new beginnings, summer harvests, garden planning and recipes. I deeply miss regular posts for the site, but I’ve chosen to sew and cook insted

Posted by: brothermalthus | July 17, 2012

Food for Thought

So I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on Hulu lately and there are many good points to be made having watched all of the US first season and first episode of season 2.  The big expose is that processed food is cheap for a reason while natural, whole foods are (relatively) expensive.

A few months ago, pink slime hit it big in the news and it made a huge controversy.  With Jamie Oliver’s show, he likes to point out what it’s made of, the use of the slime as animal feed (interpreted by him as “not fit for human consumption), and it’s prevalence in modern food production.  In short, pink slime is marginal skeletal meats (scraps that aren’t able to make into marketable cuts), connective tissues, and offal.  Some of these scraps meats are what we often advocate for making soup stock.  Offal is acceptable for sausages, bologna, sweet breads, etc… in some cultures.  The problem really comes from the use of connective tissues that must be chemically processed to be softened and palatable.  Likewise with the use of veins and interstitial tissues – the parts of the animal that no cultural society would ever consider edible.  The big controversy is the prevalence of this slime as a filler in a vast majority of processed meat products.

On the other side of the coin, 100% skeletal muscle ground beef (no matter the leanness) is drastically more expensive.  The grass feed, locally grown and butchered 6 oz hamburger patties quoted on the show in the second season pilot were $1.30 for cost to the restaurateur compared to the $0.75 for processed hamburgers.  That means a processed beef meal of a burger with all the trimmings, fries, and a soda goes from $5 to $10 – $15 a plate in order to maintain profit margins.  Only at a gourmet or sit-down burger house does a consumer expect to see a $10-$20 meal; most of which is ambiance, flavor and portion size (something I’ll have to address at another time because I’ve got a major soapbox rant on that).

And so we have it, chemical processing of our foods makes cheaper products while maximizing profits and volume of sales (not to mention dry storage longevity).  When families and institutions are short on cash and trying to stretch their budgets, we have no other options than to work with processed foods…or do we?  More on bottom-line costs as I slowly work towards my dream of subsistence living.


Posted by: brothermalthus | June 20, 2012

The Moneyed Economy

Given the latest of events in the world economic crises, my mind has wandered over the concept of the Moneyed Economy.  Long ago, when man was still no better than a beast of the field, humans were hunter-gatherers.  People ate whatever they found.  If the berries were poisonous, they’d make note and never eat them again.  If the fruit was delicious, it was worth climbing to the top of the tree to harvest the last fruit of summer.  Fish and small game were easy protein sources.  Venison, boar, and birds were a delicacy and bonus for the family/tribe.  It was all for one and one for all.  It was everyone fighting to survive as a tribe.  If one person had a need, no one thought of repayment, but rather; they simply filled the need.

Time marched on and man  evolved  and began farming produce and herding beasts.  Tribes and families intermingled as communities. People began to specialize in fashioning tools and refining materials – flour, pastries, brooms, textiles, etc…  Within these communities, one item was to be traded for another.  They called it bartering, they exchange of goods and services for other goods and services.  The only problem with this golden age of plenty was who decided that a bushel of apples is worth a hog or a kitchen table with chairs or a side of beef?  Everyone bartered with what they felt was equal to the time and effort spent to raise, fashion, or cook a product.  Everyone knows that it takes more time to grow and mill enough flour for a village than to forage apples from an orchard… or does it?  “Time is money” is the modern axiom, but with out money, no one could agree on the value of one person’s time or finished product.

Money was the great equalizer.  Currency made it possible to set the value of one person’s time and energy spent harvesting, refining, and making a sell-able good.  Everybody’s time was worth the same.  A day’s wage was worth however much work you could squeeze into a day.  Tom’s apples were now equally estimated in value as Jenny’s eggs or even Mrs. Aberdeen’s best pie.

But is everyone’s time valued the same? Not at all.  I value my time more than yours or the next person’s.  People are paid different wages for different jobs, and some of those big dollar jobs involve lots of sitting around doing nothing (i.e. IT help desk people waiting for something to break).  Yes, he who is faithful with much will be entrusted with much and the opposite is also true.

Ans so, they key thought for this rant:  If everyone’s time is now equal, why is it that congressional representatives get a wage far beyond the median income?  Just imagine how much money would be saved if the whole of Capital Hill took a pay cut to be more reflective of its constituents.  Wife and I did the math a few months ago and approximated some $9 billion dollars could be shaved from the federal budget.

I know that this might raise a hot topic of debate here, and I don’t want to be overly political on this blog.  But the marvels of the moneyed economy and it’s reason for existence seem to be fading into obscurity with the new Credit based Free Market.  It seems as though our current economic crisis is because our economy and ideas for what makes us money are stale, decadent, and stagnant.

Posted by: brothermalthus | August 17, 2011

Operation Cocktail Dress: Day 7

The zipper for this dress is being a pain!!!!  The instructions have you baste the seam where the zipper goes in.  You then press the seam allowance flat and sew either half of the zipper on its respective side.  Finally, rip the basting.  It’s kind of like making a door for the zipper and ripping out the baste is like opening a pair of french doors to reveal a finished zipper.

The part that’s a pain is the starting baste.  The seams of the waist and midriff have proven off by 1/4 in.  Very noticeable!!!  As I am custom pinning the zipper so as to gather the dress to fit Wife, this trouble isn’t helping.  I’ve decided not to follow the instructions.  I’m going to fold back the allowance, baste each side flat, line up the seams, hand stitch the two halves together to make the door, add zipper, rip out bastes and hand stitching.

If I can remember, step by step pictures will follow.

Posted by: brothermalthus | August 16, 2011

Operation Cocktail Dress: Day 6

We only have the hem, sleeves and the zipper to go.  Here’s another preview:





Posted by: brothermalthus | August 16, 2011

Operation Cocktail Dress: Photos

As promised, here are some catch-up photos.

This is the best part of the dress.  We’d chosen the base color, the skirt color and the lining when I noticed the lace at the store.  After making the suggestion and over laying the lace on the sky blue, Wife fell in love with the idea.  It took some work figuring out how to attach the lace so it looked like one piece of fabric, but quilting the lace on by sewing the diagonals made for a secure fit and hidden seams.








This is the hard part.  This is the step I had to sew three times!  Something about the gathering made it easy for things to bunch up into the seam.













Practice makes perfect!!!!!  First go got it done.  This fabric is way thinner than the mock-up, so that made things easier; however the practice taught me to go slow and watch out.











Thanks all for watching.  Now it’s time to get to work and finish the dress.  Here’s a bonus pic:

Daddy's little helper

Posted by: brothermalthus | August 16, 2011

Operation Cocktail Dress: Day 5

Spent so much time on the project today, I forgot to post pics before I had to head to work.  I’ll be posting some tantalizing sneak peaks tomorrow.  However I hope to finish the dress tomorrow.  I managed to get half of the bodice sewn today.  Remaining parts are the skirt, sewing bodice to skirt, and the zipper.  Not too many parts, but lots of work.

On the humorous side, the bodice part that I had to sew three times before getting it right on the mock-up only took me once to get right (yeah for a test dress); however, sewing the bodice back to the bodice front was done backwards.  How ironic!

Posted by: brothermalthus | August 15, 2011

Operation Cocktail Dress: Day 4

Not so late a night, but it feels late (bed time late – which it is).  Got all of the pieces cut out and have started “prep” sewing: interfacing, gathering, darts and an awesome lace layer.

Pictures to follow tomorrow.

Posted by: brothermalthus | August 14, 2011

Operation Cocktail Dress: pictures as promised


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