I can’t actually wrap my brain around 1,000 classes. But I can wrap my brain around how many classes I’ve queued up over the years, and not actually taken. I keep intending to work through all of them, but then like so many of the crafty things I stash, I end up not doing it. But I’m getting better about using the stuff I have in my studio, and I’m hoping my public declaration right here will get me to finally take these classes.
Here are the ones I’m most excited about that are also on the most-wish-listed list, so they’re half off for the next couple of days!
As a side note, I’ve been trying to figure out why I’m uncomfortable talking about my experience as being one of cyberbullying. I think it may be because I don’t consider my nemesis to have been a bully. I think of a bully as having some kind of power over the bullied person – be it strength, size, authority, popularity, reach. My nemesis had nothing over me; she wasn’t taking advantage of any kind of imbalance between us. She was just an asshole with a particular penchant for hurling colourful insults.
I’m still finding my way around Periscope, and one of the things I love most about it is that people can comment as you record, so you can respond to what they say or ask. I just love it. Anyway, as I’ve been experimenting with the platform, I find I’ve been chatting with people more and more about daily making and Year of Making, so I did a scope highlighting five reasons to do a Year of Making. The video of my five reasons is below, as is the link to get the free worksheet I promised in the scope!
My online not-really-a-class: Daily Making Jumpstart. (That’s what you’ll find at the website I mention in the scope: camp.kimwerker.com. In a few weeks, I’ll launch my next class on there; sign up for my weekly email to be the first to find out about it!)
Note: All challah is for beginners. It’s a very uncomplicated thing to make. But in case you’ve never made bread before and you’re a little intimidated – I hadn’t before I started making challah, and I was totally intimidated – I didn’t hold back on details. Let me know if you have any questions!
Many challah recipes are for making two loaves at a time. I’m not sure if there’s a traditional reason for this, and I do love the idea of making twice the bread for pretty much the same effort, but then again, twice the bread can be too much, especially if you can’t quite get it together to deliver the second loaf to a good home before it’s too old to give away. So this recipe is for one loaf (it lasts a weekend in my family of three; longer if we don’t make French toast). If you double the recipe (which the handy recipe template below allows you to do easily), note that you’ll only need three eggs, not four (because you’ll still need only one egg for the glaze).
In large bowl (use the bowl of your stand mixer if you'll be using one), add water, yeast, and 1 tsp sugar. Let stand about 10 minutes, give or take, until yeast is frothy. Stir in salt and honey (or sugar). Add 1 3/4 cups flour.
Beat at medium speed until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 5 minutes. If dough is too wet, add about 1/4 cup flour more.
Beat in margarine. Add egg, beating well.
Stir in the rest of the flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, to make a soft dough. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl, and not be *too* sticky. No worries if you end up needing to use more than a total of 3 cups of flour.
If you're using a dough hook in a stand mixer, continue kneading for a few more minutes. If you're kneading by hand, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. (If it's wintertime, or even fall or spring, before you knead turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will allow [for my oven it's 180F]. Then start kneading, or have your stand mixer do the kneading for you. When your oven reaches that temperature, or even before then, turn it off and open the door a few inches to let it cool down to about 80F – you should be able to stick your arm in there without feeling like you'll burn yourself.)
Grease a mixing bowl with a small amount of olive oil (I spread it around using my fingers), place dough in bowl and flip dough over so all sides are greased. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about an hour (that would be the oven if it's not hot like summer in your house; close the door once you put the bowl in there so it remains warm).
After an hour, remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough down. This can be a very satisfying thing to do. Just keep the dough in the bowl and knuckle punch it so it deflates. Flip it over to make sure it's not sticking, put the plastic wrap back on, and let it rise a second time (in the oven again if you'd like) – about 40-60 minutes.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and separate it into portions for braiding (three equal[ish] portions for a three-strand braid; six for six strands). Roll the strands using your hands (make snakes like you used to make out of Playdough [or still do, no judgment here]). Lay the strands out vertically, parallel to each other.
Gather the strands at the top and squish/pound them together to join. Braid (see video for how to braid six strands). When you run out of dough to braid, squish/pound the bottom strands together to join. Tuck them under the loaf (see video). Set loaf on cookie sheet that's lined with parchment paper.
Crack egg into small bowl and beat briefly. Brush egg onto top of braided loaf, trying not to let it drip onto the parchment paper (no big deal if it does). Put egg bowl in the fridge – you'll use it again.
Set oven to preheat to 400F. Put loaf (still on cookie sheet) on stovetop while oven preheats (the heat will again aid rising). Let the loaf rise a third time, for about 30-45 minutes.
Grab the egg bowl from the fridge and brush egg onto top of loaf a second time.
Bake loaf at 400F for ten minutes then, without opening the oven door, turn heat down to 350F and bake for an additional 20 minutes or so, until the loaf is a deep, gorgeous, shiny brown. You'll know for sure the loaf is done when you flip it over (use gloves, it's hot!) and knock it gently on the bottom with your knuckles – you should hear a hollow sound.
Here's a Periscope I did on how to braid a six-strand challah:
I’ve had bookbinding on my mind for about a year. It ticks off all the things that always turn me onto a craft: it uses up things that might otherwise be discarded (paper scraps), it involves a certain amount of precision and skill, and it results in a wholly new, totally practical item.
So I fired up Periscope yesterday and made my first handmade book. (Well, I did a bunch of prep work, then fired up Periscope and started making a book, then I finished making the book later. Making a book takes a lot of time.)
Notes from a First-time Bookbinder
Though every bookbinding tutorial I found lists very specific materials required to make a book, I had no trouble making do with what I had at home (see details below in the Scope Notes). So keep that in mind if you’ve been holding off trying this out because you don’t have certain items.
Also, this is not a quick project. All told, I probably spent about three hours making this book yesterday. It’ll probably take less time to make my next book, but maybe consider this a weekend project rather than an in-one-sitting project if it’s your first time.
Lots of notes about this project! First, about the tools and materials (some of these are affiliate links):
For the front and back covers of my book, I used pieces of corrugated cardboard I cut down from a shipping box then covered with decorative paper. The paper is from the inside covers of an issue of Mollie Makes magazine (which often includes gorgeous full-page prints in its pages). You can also use bookboard, heavy cardboard or chipboard for book covers.
For paper, I used scraps, all cut roughly to the same size (half of an 8.5″ x 11″ paper, so 8.5″ x 5.5″ – folded in half, as they are to make a book, each page I made is roughly 4.25″ x 5.5″).
Every tutorial I found called for a bone folder. I’m pretty sure I have one somewhere, but in the interest of actually doing this project, I just used the side of a pencil shaft to make a good crease in my folded papers.
I used a tailor’s awl to punch holes in my papers and covers, because that’s what I had on hand. In the interest of keeping my fabric- and paper-cutting tools separate, I’ll probably pick up an awl like this one for bookbinding.
Most bookbinders use waxed linen thread to sew their books together. I didn’t have any, so I used dental floss. Minty fresh!
If I end up really getting into this and use very tough materials for my covers, I’ll probably have to end up drilling the holes in them. Or I might splurge on one of these, which looks like it can also be used on leather (which is something on my list for a future First Time Make.)
And finally, I think the only thing I mentioned in the scope that wasn’t specifically about bookbinding was the Daily Making Jumpstart, which you can sign up for right over here. I hope to see you in there!
Join me every week(ish) as I make stuff for the first time. Follow me on Periscope to be alerted when a broadcast begins, and on Instagram and Twitter for some advance notice!
If there’s something you want me to make for the first time, leave a comment and I’ll add it to my list!
I just couldn’t wait to weave, you guys. I just couldn’t wait. It was everything I could do not to weave last night after I assembled and warped my frame loom yesterday, but I at least wanted to space the Periscopes out by a day. So I waited. Until this morning.
This morning, I dug through scrap yarn in my studio, gathered a bunch of it up, fired up Periscope, and spent and hour weaving on my frame loom for the first time, in a live video stream. The video’s below, if you want to grab something to make and watch along (bonus points if you weave for the first time!).
Beth Graham (you should check out her amazing crochet class, btw) pointed out that the way I made the tassels may not actually secure them to the bottom of the weave (I need to investigate further). Regardless, in the future I will probably make a row or two of plain weave before I make the tassels. Even if I did wrap the tassels around the correct warp threads, putting them on after a few rows of plain weave should make the bottom of the weave more structurally sound.
Want to Get More Comfortable Trying New Things?
A couple of years ago I never would have felt comfortable trying new art and craft techniques in public, with people watching. Then I committed to make something – anything – every day, even for a tiny bit of time, and eventually I learned how to not have any idea how to do something, and do it anyway. If you want a hand forming a daily creative habit, the Daily Making Jumpstart will help!
Remember how I came up with a harebrained idea for a Periscope series of me making things for the very first time? Well, thanks to your help, I have a list of more than two dozen things to make (keep those ideas coming!).
Today, I did my first #firsttimemake scope, and to be easy on myself for this first one, I chose a project that’s been high on my list for a very long time: assembling and warping my frame loom. (I bought the loom a few months ago, and have been so excited to use it that I haven’t touched it. You know how that goes, right?)
I’m so excited to finally weave on it that I have a feeling I’ll do the second scope within a day or two. Or later today.
Watch the video below! And let me know if you have any questions about it. I’ll do my best to answer here on the blog, and/or in my next scope.
I’ve heard so much about Periscope over the last few months that over time it seeped into my consciousness as this vaguely threatening, building-size, mildly horny beast looming in the shadows of the things I knew I should really check out.
Why threatening? Mostly because I didn’t really know anything about it other than what people raved about.
Also, because I can be cranky, and I don’t think I’d found the right people to follow. The few ‘scopes* I tried watching seemed, frankly, rambling or dull, or, let’s be honest, Gary Vaynerchuck way too early in the morning.
But deep down, I knew Periscope would probably rock my world. I do, after all, love video, and I’ve experienced through the classes I teach how fabulous a medium it is for makers of any kind. I just needed to poke around it on my own, and figure out for myself what I want to do with it.
And so I got all set to do my morning workout yesterday, then realized that while I usually put that off as long as possible, on that day I was using it as an excuse to put Periscope off as long as possible. So I switched around my plan, and in my hideous workout shirt, I just ripped the bandage off and fired up Periscope.
What I Learned from My First Periscope Broadcast
That’s a copy of my first scope, above. I was not kidding when I said my workout shirt is awful. (You can follow me on Periscope right here.)
Live video is awesome. One of the reasons I don’t do more video is that it takes a metric tonne of time to produce, between planning, filming, and – the big kicker – editing. Live video just takes the planning and filming. Or, if you’re me, just the filming (ok, with a tiny bit of planning).
Here’s why else live video is awesome: No polish (I’m not a big fan of polish, if you haven’t noticed). Even people who try to be polished seem unpolished on Periscope (which may be why I was so turned off by some of the scopes I tried to watch – people with perfect hair and lip gloss just seem silly when the resolution is crappy and the camera’s shaking). Live means you get all the reality of what goes into filming things but don’t get to see because the flubs, mistakes, and accidental slips of profanity get edited out. (I did not swear during my first scope; go me!)
It does not feel like you’re talking to yourself. I thought it would. But it doesn’t. When you broadcast a scope using the front-facing camera on your phone, you can see hearts and comments that people are making. So first, you know people are there, and if they comment you know who they are, and that allows for way more interaction than if you were just shouting into the ether from your own personal vacuum. Not feeling like you’re talking to yourself is awesome, because what would be the point? Not only was I able to catch some of the comments before they disappeared, so I could address them, but I also ended up having a few conversations with people after the broadcast who mentioned they had commented, which was icing on the cake.
The hearts. In addition to comments, viewers can double-tap their screen to make little hearts float up the side of the video. This idea sounds so profoundly dumb that I think it played a big part in my avoidance of using Periscope. But I’ll tell you this: the hearts are not dumb. They are, in fact, awesome. Profoundly ridiculous, maybe. And also awesome. Because while you’re chatting away into your phonecam – you can see yourself on the screen, obviously, which can be really distracting – you’re also getting subtle feedback about whether people are digging what you’re saying or doing. And no negative feedback – there are no, like, tomatoes that people can throw onto your screen, only hearts. The hearts can run dry, of course, but then you can trip over something or accidentally swear or wax philosophical about not standing in your own sun, and the hearts pop back up again.
Periscope has tremendous potential for people who make stuff. Know how one of the things we makers do is make stuff all by ourselves? Well, there’s something about a live video – even if you watch it later – that seems way more personal and less solitary than even listening to a podcast while you work. For one thing, no annoying radio voice that’s reading a script to you – live video means no script-reading (or, it should; for the love of puppies, don’t read a script). Video means we can teach each other how to make things – by actually showing how to make it. It means we can do what I did in my first scope: make something while chatting. If you make something while I’m making something, we’re making things together. That’s just a lovely thing to do.
I’m going to try to make Periscope a regular part of my week. Maybe even more than once a week. And I have a harebrained idea about a series of scopes I’d like to do. It’s an idea I need your help with.
Do you know the YouTube phenom called unboxing? It’s when someone films their opening of of a product for the first time. Often it’s electronics (oh, the unboxing frenzy when a new iPhone is released), sometimes it’s of any other kind of product. Anyway.
I want to do a series of scopes where I try a new art or craft technique for the very first time. Which is not at all like unboxing, except where it’s like unboxing trying something new. I’ll call it… #firsttimemake, or something like that (suggestions welcome!).
I recognize that this may result in major failures and/or actual bodily harm, on live video. I’m cool with that.
And I need your help compiling a list of things to try for the first time. When I attempt to make such a list on my own, I come up with zilch. Which is dumb, because there are so many things I’ve never tried before.
Please comment or shoot me a note and rattle off a bunch of things you’d like to see me attempt to make for the first time in a live broadcast!
I will, obviously, discard suggestions that might burn my house down, and I’m going to prioritize projects that won’t require me to purchase anything new (but if something excites me, I’ll totally purchase something new to make it).
These can be things you think I’ll be interested in or have fun with, or things you’re interested in, or things you think will simply be fun to watch me bumble through. Whatever.
I admit I feel some concern that no one else will think this idea is brilliant. If you think it’d be even remotely cool to watch, please shoot me an idea. Even a dumb one. Even one you haven’t thought through. If even one person responds with an idea, I will consider my assessment of brilliance to be totally bang-on, and I will prepare to make that thing for the first time in a live broadcast for you to enjoy (or mock; whatever).
Let’s see where this goes, eh?
* People call broadcasts scopes. I’m confident they don’t use an apostrophe at the beginning to mark the chopped-off syllable, but since I’m writing and not talking and I’m cranky, I’m using it here, at least for this very first post about Periscope.
My hair is longer than it’s been in years. A few weeks ago, after shoving my ponytail into my hat, I decided it’s finally time for a Calorimetry. I knitted it in a couple of days. Then the weather got warmer, or I realized who cares about a ponytail shoved into a hat, or whatever, and I never wove the ends in or sewed on the button. For shame. But then my kid informed me there was a possibility of snow in the forecast (oh, how I do so very much miss living in a place that has a proper winter every year), and also, we had our annual curling party (possibly like the eleventh annual Bonspiel, or something crazy like that [though, to be honest, since we all started having kids, it’s less of a tournament and more of a… chaos). So I sewed on a button and wove in the ends, and behold! Winter headwear! (That shawl I’m wearing all stealth-like is something for another day.)
Wanna Jumpstart Your Creative Practice?
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In this class you’ll learn about the concept of Mighty Ugly, a framework that celebrates the benefits of failure. Through interactive lessons, I’ll help you identify and embrace the ugly parts of your business – you’ll get help addressing what holds you back so you can shift the problem, and resolve it. You’ll learn tools that will help you:
Overcome self-doubt as an entrepreneur
Abolish professional perfectionism
Dismiss your fear of failure
Eliminate irksome business blocks
I’ll teach you exercises that will keep you creative even as you struggle with balancing your books, promoting your work, managing social media, or whatever else holds you back.