Monday, April 19, 2010

Woe and calamity and soap

The woe and calamity are that 1) the two etsyhacks I use the most are not working for me. This makes using my shop much less efficient. 2) Email from both etsy and paypal are slow to arrive, meaning I nearly didn't see two orders that came in today in time to go out in today's mail. I managed to get them out in time, but it was a close run thing.

The soap is this:

hand felted soaps

These are all Kiss My Face soaps in the 4oz size, in a number of different scents. The wool is Corriedale roving which I hand dyed. The ducky was needle felted first, and I touched up several of the bars with more needlefelting to secure loose bits. There was a bit of a learning curve, so three of the soaps have a much thicker layer of roving that's rather less felted. But they'll become tighter with use and they're felted enough to hold their shape. This comes from feeling the first layer was too thin and patchy, and having to put a thick second layer on top of that one. Too thin and it would just felt into ropes that wouldn't stick to the base.

I've become totally enamored of using felted soap. It's a washcloth and a soap in one! It's really a lovely thing to use in the bath, just abrasive enough without being harsh, and since the wool doesn't hold water like cotton does it dries relatively quickly once it's squeezed out. I've decided that everyone needs one. Much like how I feel about hot water bottles.

The only difficulty I've found with the deeply dyed roving is that the alkalinity of the soap tends to strip out the dye, causing it to bleed. So it's not good to rest it up against anything porous or absorbent like a towel, or grout, or a naked soap since the dye will transfer and potentially stain. It's not enough to stain skin during use, but I wouldn't like to see what it does to tub grout. A soap dish solves this handily, of course.

The ducky one is for my youngest niece for her birthday which is coming up, and the other four are for a housewarming present. I'm also making a set of 6 washcloths for that:

washcloths in progress

If I'd really been swift on the uptake, I would have used some of the organic cotton I have stashed away for these. But I forgot and picked up some Sugar 'n Cream. They're pretty, at least. I like how they're pooling, and I'm working them up with exactly half a ball each.

Of course, with the soaps being felted, there's no actual need for washcloths, but a box of soap seemed slightly inadequate. Also, I need something to fill up the nice little lined basket I got. In fact, I still need something to fill up the nice little lined basket I got. Perhaps a small plant. Hmm....

And now for something completely different, although I suppose it could be considered calamitous for my arteries. Since I'm home alone for nearly a week, and subjected to eating up all the leftovers whilst everyone else gallivants around the other coast at weddings and suchlike, I decided to try the KFC DoubleDown sandwich. Why? I'm not a fan of fast food and eat it maybe 4 times a year. Fast food is expensive and unbalanced nutritionally, and doesn't even taste particularly good. But I sometimes have to give in to curiosity and this was tempting and horrifying at once. And it's cheeky in that it doesn't even attempt to deny that it's a bit much while reining it back to being just a little too much when one compares it to its competition.

A KFC Double Down sans wrapper, with side of potato wedges. That big empty space on the plate is where a vegetable belongs and isn't.

My opinion? It's all right. Hardly the taste sensation they're touting it as, but at the same time it's tasty enough for what it is. The chicken was moist and juicy and much as it ever is. Ridiculously over salted, of course, as were the potato wedges. The "cheese" was slightly spicy which was a nice surprise and helped cut through the deep fried flavor, but otherwise it's the same old not-really-cheese that's always featured in these sorts of sandwiches. The mayo was tangy and colorful but otherwise uninteresting and completely lost in the sandwich. The bacon was unnecessary as it just imparted a vague smokiness to the piece while the fried chicken's FRIEDness took center stage.

It's conceptually more tempting than the reality, because the reality is that deep fried battered chicken breasts don't need anything else to make them appealing enough in their own right. In fact, deep fried battered chicken makes plain romaine lettuce a feast for kings, so all this gilding the lily is really just swank that will make one queasy from too much sodium and fat and no vegetables at all. It's a fried chicken breast entree, with some pepper jack wannabe, bacon and mayo. Eat it with a knife and fork and the lack of bun is no longer shocking. Add in the potatoes and there's more than enough carbs to keep a family happy.

Scarily enough, a Double Down has fewer calories than a Whopper (but more than a Big Mac). It also has more sodium. Yeah, not health food by a long stretch but also pretty par for what fast food has become. If anything, I'd rather eat the chicken from this "sandwich" than the beef from the burgers. At least it's a whole piece of meat that I can identify!

So! I've eaten a Double Down so you don't have to. Unless you want to, of course. I recommend chasing it with at least an apple or a raw carrot or two if a salad can't be had, and a really large glass of water. All that fat and protein and salt needs something to keep it from turning into concrete. At the same time, with the money I spent on this sandwich, potato wedges, and a large iced tea (that I watered down), I could have bought the fresh ingredients necessary for a very nice dinner at home for 2 or 3 people. So yeah, between the stomach ache and the expense, I'm not doing this again soon.

Some numbers to amuse and astound:
  • Big Mac - 540 calories; 30g fat, 1010mg sodium
  • Whopper - 670 calories; 39g fat; 1120mg sodium
  • Double Down - 540 calories; 32g fat; 1380mg sodium
  • half a pint of Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Macadamia - 540 calories; 36g fat; 130mg sodium
 I consider 1/3-1/2 of a pint of Ben & Jerry's to be a realistic adult portion, so right here I'm announcing that I officially think that it's better to eat half a pint of Ben & Jerry's than any of the other things on that list. :P

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