2016 to 2020

Hi there.

It’s been 4 years since I wrote anything for this blog.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the type of person I want to be, and a big part of that is a creator or a maker. Someone who adds something to society instead of always taking resources away. It’s hard to switch from consumption to creation, though and I’ve never considered myself a creator so I have a mental block about what kind of stuff I’ll create. I’m going to start a challenge for myself to create something every day and post it on this blog. I got the inspiration from this article:

Here’s some things I would like to create, to start:

  1. Trails – including adding jumps and berms to existing trails or maintaining existing trails.
  2. Writing – blog posts or articles about personal finance, or happiness, or some kind of philosophy – or maybe history.
  3. Coding, maybe?
  4. Bread
  5. Baking
  6. Landscaping
  7. A business – pressure washing
  8. A community drop-in for personal finance
  9. Journaling

I don’t even know! All I know is that I admire producers and makers, especially those who create. Big examples in my community are the trailbuilders who have created all the incredible trails Squamish is in love with. I’m going to join them!

Today, April 3 2020 is Day 1 of my 30-day Challenge.

Here’s a pic of me creating my very first thing the other day – rebuilding some trail in Squamish (Dirty Jane).

Digging after work on Dirty Jane.

My first successful sourdough!

I had a hell of a time building this sourdough starter.

After showing pictures of my woeful sourdough frisbee in our “Sourdough Bro’s” WhatsApp group chat, a friend offered me a piece of her robust starter. I didn’t take it though, because I was determined to get this baby working for me!

I fed the starter 3 more times after my failed attempt. I did a ton of research and reading, and learned from The Perfect Loaf blog that I should do a “float test” with the starter to determine if it’s gassy enough to work with.

Twice, my chunk of starter sank promptly to the bottom of the glass. I felt defeated! Bear in mind, this is after 5 feedings already.

After my 3rd feeding, here’s what I saw the next day:

Finally! Floating, gassy success!

The next step was to make some loaves.

I wanted to make some bread in the middle of the week. I always follow Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast method and recipes for all my doughs, but his schedule takes up a lot of weekend time.

I decided to follow this recipe from The Perfect Loaf.

I’m going to be honest, this recipe did not really work for me as stated.

I made the levain with an offshoot of my starter, as directed… but by 5pm, the thing had barely risen. It seemed totally insufficient to leaven two loaves of bread. So the first modification I made was adding 50g of extra starter to the mix when I added the levain.

The next issue was that the dough was WET. Sopping. Unmanageably hydrated. I had to keep adding flour until it felt somewhat like a bread dough, and I believe I added at least 300g extra all-purpose flour.

After shaping the boules, I put them in the fridge to proof overnight, but by morning they did not pass the finger dent test. So, I left them to prove until evening.

When I got home at 8pm after biking, I baked the loaves. I prepared myself for the worst – it seemed unlikely these guys would turn out well after so many modifications.

When I took off the lid of the Dutch oven after the first 30 minutes of baking and the oven spring was revealed, I was ECSTATIC!

I mean, just look at this beautiful loaf!

Even better, the extra flour made a bigger loaf, more like how I like them.

The inside was chewy but not too dense, lightly acidic with such a lovely tangy smell and taste. I’m in heaven!

Bad picture, great crumb.

This fired me up so much that I already have more dough fermenting right now, and sourdough cinnamon buns proving in a warm spot. So exciting!

A Nest Egg(s) metaphor for staying invested

Financial blogs often refer to savings as a nest egg, which is a lovely metaphor on its own. I made a small cartoon that elaborates on the idea of a nest egg, and why selling your investments during a market downturn doesn’t make sense.

This cartoon looked a lot better in my mind’s eye than the final product does, but I’m trying to just create instead of worrying about inadequacy.

The metaphor does end there, because unlike real eggs you can put your savings back into their metaphorical investment shell, but they’ll never be the same. When you sell, you make estimated losses real. Market downturns are a bad time to sell.

The Maker Challenge Continues!

I’ve made a lot lately, so many things that it feels like a chore to post about them all I’m so excited about how many exciting things have been made lately. I’ll start with last weekend – while I posted some cartoons that I made, the biggest thing I made (with some help from my fantastic boyfriend Cody) was a mini ramp jump for mountain biking!

At LEAST a year ago, I saw a video from Global Mountain Bike Network that showed two guys traipsing about the forest in England with a homemade jump. The video shows them having an absolute blast with this thing, jumping over objects, into objects, back flipping, etc etc. Now I can’t backflip, but I have daydreamed about this mini kicker for a long while, but had 0 skills or equipment to accomplish the task.

Now my boyfriend Cody is really handy, and works in construction and happens to have a heap of tools! He taught me how to use a skill saw, and how to properly use a drill (apparently I didn’t know…) and accompanied me to Home Depot to buy the wood which would have been very intimidating without him!

We each took on a project – he built a mini kicker and I built a mini ramp. Cody took on the mini kicker because it required a curved cut and we didn’t have a jig saw, so it required a bit of technical manoeuvring. The mini ramp was much simpler.

I had a great time building this, except for in the middle when Cody had to correct my skill saw cuts because they were 1/4 inch uneven at one point and the ramp was wobbly. It was my first time using a skill so I forgive myself!

Pic of Cody fixing my cut.

Got the two ramps completed and we were so happy and went to play jumps out on the trails!

This project was unbelievably worth doing! I feel such pride in this creation, and never would have been possible without this challenge.

One last thing… on the last day off of the Easter long weekend, we also finished up our trail maintenance on Dirty Jane. We did add a sneaky little drop in off the side of the trail… shhh.

Stocks on Sale

I recently read a blog post here from a Wisconsin financial advisor that does a nice job of explaining why you should continue to invest monthly during the current market downturn. The post inspired me to create this quick cartoon as a visualization of stocks on sale.

You will never be able to time the market perfectly, so investing on a consistent basis is our preferred way to build wealth over long periods of time.

Nate Condon of Walkner Condon Financial Advisors

In my experience working at a financial advisory firm, this statement rings true! Those clients that have monthly pre-authorized deposits are so much wealthier than those who don’t.

Getting started on Making earlier in the day

Yesterday, I didn’t make anything.

I had the best of intentions. It was the first day of a 4-day weekend and I was hoping to make something at some point in the day.

In the morning, my sourdough starter should have been ready to make a loaf – but it hadn’t risen very much, and needed more time. I knew I would need to make something else during the day to make up for those hoped-for loaves, but I didn’t get started on it. We went for a bike bike ride, and I stopped by Home Depot to pick up supplies for Saturday’s project. In the evening I was preparing a homemade chicken soup and anticipating creating something in the evening. Then, we had unexpected guests (who all remained physically distant), then a Zoom group call… by the time dinner was cleaned up it was 10pm. I’ve been wanting to get up earlier – both to have time to create in the morning but also to spend some time alone before the rest of the house wakes up. I decided that I would sacrifice my challenge for April 10 so that I could get set up with waking up early on April 11.

It worked! I woke up jus before 6am, and had time to read reddit and a couple articles, drink coffee and learn how to draw a few cartoon faces before 9am. This is the life!

Imagine I’m that old dude.

I followed a great tutorial online for these cartoon faces:

This tutorial was really easy, and the girl character looks kind of like my roommate Sav, so I recreated this little conversation we had the other day. I look just like the other character, trust me.

What I made – April 8 & 9 2020

The last couple days marked a full week on this #makerchallenge, and actually marked a couple days where I wasn’t chomping at the bit to create. It’s so much easier to watch Vikings in bed if you’re feeling tired from the work week! The last thing I wanted was to give up on my challenge so easily, so the last two days I worked on a project that I started last weekend. I am super stoked on my cartoon of Cody, and the next person I obviously wanted to cartoon is Jess. It’s her birthday coming up in May so thought I would cartoon a picture of us together. I’m really happy with how it turned out, but I don’t want her to see it yet, so here’s the picture of us I copied instead!

Just the best of friends.

I’ll post the cartoon after her birthday. She has also requested the Momofuku Milk Bar Birthday Cake for her birthday in early May so I’m already thinking about that one. I need acetate strips which I would normally buy from Amazon, but due to the Rona, delivery time is post-birthday… I may be able to buy clear placemats and tape them around the cake…

Digital Passion Planner with GoodNotes

Today’s entry for the #makerchallenge is a small one- I was only slightly creative, but that wasn’t the point of the challenge. It’s not so much about creativity as it is about pride in making or creating. l’ve used Passion Planner in the past and loved it, but I hated having to carry around a bulky planner and having to cross things out… I disliked how messy it got over time. If Passion Planner had an app, l’d buy it in an instant. However, they don’t but Passion Planner offers free PDF’s of their planners on their website, which is amazing of them. I followed a tutorial on how to add the PDF’s to Good notes (an app I’ve never used before). The only issue was that the downloads had changed a bit, so I did have to create a bit to make it work! I don’t know if it’s right for me to share the Good notes PDF publicly here, but if anyone comments asking for it I think it would be ok to share.

Digital Planning – Using the Passion Planner in Good Notes – this is the link for the tutorial.

Passion Planner – the link to the site.

What I made on Sunday, April 5

After my terrible drawing of Cody on Saturday, I followed an amazing tutorial on how to draw a cartoon of someone on an iPad. Can you believe this result compared to my previous drawing?

I traced an image of him completely, so it’s not very impressive really but I am still EXTREMELY proud of this cartoon.

Here is the tutorial I followed, she was so awesome!

However that was how I spent my Saturday… and since I am supposed to be creating every day, this doesn’t count for Sunday April 5!

My project for April 5 was a sourdough bread – I made the starter myself over 5 days and then fermented the dough starting on Saturday and baking on Sunday.

Unfortunately, this was a bit of a bust because the dang thing just REFUSED to rise. I didn’t capture too much of the process, but here’s what I got…

A heckin’ frisbee! Womp, womp. 6 days of work for this lump of loaf. Back to the drawing board… I am going to try this tutorial for a weeknight loaf this week as one of my creations. 🙂

Financial concept explanation cartoons.

So a passion of mine is personal finance, and I want to share this passion with others and help others gain interest in financial concepts.

This morning I thought this might be done with some drawings or cartoons. Unfortunately. I’m pretty rubbish at drawing. But I figured this morning I would give it a go since I want to create something every day for 30 days, and maybe I’ll have some ideas or make some drawing progress by then!

Today’s contribution to the #makerchallenge slash #createeverydamnday is this extremely average drawing of my boyfriend. I’m not totally disappointed with how it turned out but not impressed with myself either! I figure I would like to have my favourite people in my cartoon, if that’s where I end up going with this.

Go ahead and laugh a bit. 🙂