Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Carrots (by Kat)

I planted *just* a few too many carrots this year. I wanted two varieties, and each packet had a juzillion buhzillion seeds, and why wouldn't I just plant them all? What else was there to do with the leftovers, besides plant them?

Actually, I called a few friends and asked if they would like them, but everyone I knew had already purchased enough carrots--but thanks for asking.

So, into the ground they all went.

So, our cold storage is packed with carrots.

And really, I think they're a bit too happy there. They're growing...

And the last thing we need around here is more stinking carrots!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Cannoli (By Kat)

The November 2009 Daring Bakers Challenge was chosen and hosted by Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives. She chose the Italian Pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural), using the cookbooks Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and The Sopranos Family Cookbook by Allen Rucker; recipes by Michelle Scicolone, as ingredient/direction guides. She added her own modifications/changes, so the recipe is not 100% verbatim from either book. Of course, no recipe out of my kitchen is EVER verbatim.

This challenge was exceptionally fun because Bet and I were able to collaborate on the project. We also involved her husband, his tools, and their totally cool kids.

As neither of us had ever had a cannoli, the first challenge was to find a bakery that made these delectables. In Kat-burg, there are none to be found, but in Portland, near Bet-land, we were directed to Martinotti's. Here we found cannoli shells for sale in a box, and the proprietors highly recommended not trying to make these yourself. The gauntlet was thrown, and as for the cannoli, I can just say YUM!

Second challenge was to find a store that stocked cannoli forms. In all of the sodden Pearl District of Portland, there was not a form to be found. Apparently, there was a run on them. I wasn't fast enough to buy my forms before all of Portland's Daring Bakers bought theirs.

We arrived back at Bet's house, totally soaked. I mean, absolutely freaking fracking wet to the core, without a cannoli form to our combined names. Her husband pulled through for us in the most wondrous fashion. He brought in a square bar of stainless steel picked up from the floor of the garage. He asked if it would work. We shrugged, he went to work, and magic, absolute magic occurred.

Traditional forms are round, but ours were square. This time, it was truly hip to be square. Leave the round forms to the boring old squares, we say...

Whilst Mr. Magic made the forms, we made the dough. We followed the recipe for the most part, but substituted Marsala cooking wine for the Marsala wine. This is the stuff you find on the shelf next to the cooking sherry, the cooking vermouth, and other poor wines that have been salted and put into little jars to be sold inexpensively next to the Worcestershire and soy sauces in the grocery store. We also added about 1/2 cup of water to get a pliable dough.

Because the forms were so heavy, they sank to the bottom of the pot of hot oil. A canning ring on the bottom of the pot solved that problem.

One by one, the circles of dough were wrapped around the forms, lowered into the oil, and cooked to a crispy, blistered, crackly golden brown.

Here they are, fresh from the oil and sprinkled with a bit of powdered sugar.

Served up with spiced whipped cream...

We called it a perfect introduction to cannoli making!

Then, on the way back from Bet-land, I stopped at an outlet store and found real cannoli forms...
I wanted to compare our square forms to the traditional round shapes.
I also wanted to experiment with the dough just a little bit.

After mixing the ingredients in the bowl, I could see that the dough was again too dry.

I dumped the dough onto the counter and began to knead it out. The dough was more supple than
our previous attempt, but I knew more liquid needed to be added.

I flattened the dough out, and sprinkled about one more tablespoon of Marsala wine on top.

That did the trick, as you can see.
Marsala and olive oil, presenting their spicy little ball of dough.
They're a very happy family.

The dough was rolled out, the forms wrapped, and hallelujah, check these out!

The spiced whipped cream was so good last time, that I was leaning toward just repeating that filling.
However, when company showed up with little warning in the middle of the deep-frying process, I knew that whipped cream was the only way to go. Easy, safe, done.
Yeah, not very Daring Baker. A lot more like Done Baker....

Overall, these are really fun to make, and I'll definitely be doing them again.

The Recipe, from the Daring Bakers Forum:

Lidisano’s Cannoli

Makes 22-24 4-inch cannoli

Prep time:

Dough – 2 hours and 10-20 minutes, including resting time, and depending on whether you do it by hand or machine.

Filling – 5-10 minutes plus chilling time (about 2 hours or more)

Frying – 1-2 minutes per cannoli

Assemble – 20–30 minutes



2 cups (250 grams/8.82 ounces) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons(28 grams/1 ounce) sugar

1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.06 ounces) unsweetened baking cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon (approx. 3 grams/0.11 ounces) salt

3 tablespoons (42 grams/1.5 ounces) vegetable or olive oil

1 teaspoon (5 grams/0.18 ounces) white wine vinegar

Approximately 1/2 cup (approx. 59 grams/approx. 4 fluid ounces/approx. 125 ml) sweet Marsala or any white or red wine you have on hand

1 large egg, separated (you will need the egg white but not the yolk)

Vegetable or any neutral oil for frying – about 2 quarts (8 cups/approx. 2 litres)

1/2 cup (approx. 62 grams/2 ounces) toasted, chopped pistachio nuts, mini chocolate chips/grated chocolate and/or candied or plain zests, fruits etc.. for garnish

Confectioners' sugar

Note - If you want a chocolate cannoli dough, substitute a few tablespoons of the flour (about 25%) with a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder (Dutch process) and a little more wine until you have a workable dough (Thanks to Audax).


2 lbs (approx. 3.5 cups/approx. 1 kg/32 ounces) ricotta cheese, drained

1 2/3 cups cup (160 grams/6 ounces) confectioner’s sugar, (more or less, depending on how sweet you want it), sifted

1/2 teaspoon (1.15 grams/0.04 ounces) ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon (4 grams/0.15 ounces) pure vanilla extract or the beans from one vanilla bean

3 tablespoons (approx. 28 grams/approx. 1 ounce) finely chopped good quality chocolate of your choice

2 tablespoons (12 grams/0.42 ounces) of finely chopped, candied orange peel, or the grated zest of one small to medium orange

3 tablespoons (23 grams/0.81 ounce) toasted, finely chopped pistachios

Note - If you want chocolate ricotta filling, add a few tablespoons of dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to the above recipe, and thin it out with a few drops of warm water if too thick to pipe.


1. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer or food processor, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the oil, vinegar, and enough of the wine to make a soft dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and well blended, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the fridge from 2 hours to overnight.

2 Cut the dough into two pieces. Keep the remaining dough covered while you work. Lightly flour a large cutting or pastry board and roll the dough until super thin, about 1/16 to 1/8” thick (An area of about 13 inches by 18 inches should give you that). Cut out 3 to 5-inch circles (3-inch – small/medium; 4-inch – medium/large; 5-inch;- large. Your choice). Roll the cut out circle into an oval, rolling it larger and thinner if it’s shrunk a little.

3 Oil the outside of the cannoli tubes (You only have to do this once, as the oil from the deep fry will keep them well, uhh, Roll a dough oval from the long side (If square, position like a diamond, and place tube/form on the corner closest to you, then roll) around each tube/form and dab a little egg white on the dough where the edges overlap. (Avoid getting egg white on the tube, or the pastry will stick to it.) Press well to seal. Set aside to let the egg white seal dry a little.

4. In a deep heavy saucepan, pour enough oil to reach a depth of 3 inches, or if using an electric deep-fryer, follow the manufacturer's directions. Heat the oil to 375°F (190 °C) on a deep fry thermometer, or until a small piece of the dough or bread cube placed in the oil sizzles and browns in 1 minute. Have ready a tray or sheet pan lined with paper towels or paper bags.

5. Carefully lower a few of the cannoli tubes into the hot oil. Do not crowd the pan. Fry the shells until golden, about 2 minutes, turning them so that they brown evenly.

8. Lift a cannoli tube with a wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, out of the oil. Using tongs, grasp the cannoli tube at one end. Very carefully remove the cannoli tube with the open sides straight up and down so that the oil flows back into the pan. Place the tube on paper towels or bags to drain. Repeat with the remaining tubes. While they are still hot, grasp the tubes with a potholder and pull the cannoli shells off the tubes with a pair of tongs, or with your hand protected by an oven mitt or towel. Let the shells cool completely on the paper towels. Place shells on cooling rack until ready to fill.

9. Repeat making and frying the shells with the remaining dough. If you are reusing the cannoli tubes, let them cool before wrapping them in the dough.

Cannoli shell preparation, cutting out the dough circles, sealing the dough around the form, frying the shells, finished shells ready to fill

Pasta Machine method:

1. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Starting at the middle setting, run one of the pieces of dough through the rollers of a pasta machine. Lightly dust the dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking. Pass the dough through the machine repeatedly, until you reach the highest or second highest setting. The dough should be about 4 inches wide and thin enough to see your hand through

2. Continue rolling out the remaining dough. If you do not have enough cannoli tubes for all of the dough, lay the pieces of dough on sheets of plastic wrap and keep them covered until you are ready to use them.

3, Roll, cut out and fry the cannoli shells as according to the directions above.

For stacked cannoli:

1. Heat 2-inches of oil in a saucepan or deep sauté pan, to 350-375°F (176 - 190 °C).

2. Cut out desired shapes with cutters or a sharp knife. Deep fry until golden brown and blistered on each side, about 1 – 2 minutes. Remove from oil with wire skimmer or large slotted spoon, then place on paper towels or bags until dry and grease free. If they balloon up in the hot oil, dock them lightly prior to frying. Place on cooling rack until ready to stack with filling.


1. Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Place the ricotta in the strainer over a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Weight it down with a heavy can, and let the ricotta drain in the refrigerator for several hours to overnight.

2. In a bowl with electric mixer, beat ricotta until smooth and creamy. Beat in confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and blend until smooth. Transfer to another bowl and stir in chocolate, zest and nuts. Chill until firm.(The filling can be made up to 24 hours prior to filling the shells. Just cover and keep refrigerated).


1. When ready to serve..fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain or star tip, or a ziplock bag, with the ricotta cream. If using a ziplock bag, cut about 1/2 inch off one corner. Insert the tip in the cannoli shell and squeeze gently until the shell is half filled. Turn the shell and fill the other side. You can also use a teaspoon to do this, although it’s messier and will take longer.

2. Press or dip cannoli in chopped pistachios, grated chocolate/mini chocolate chips, candied fruit or zest into the cream at each end. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and/or drizzles of melted chocolate if desired.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Family Recipes (by Bet)

Happy Thanksgiving!

This morning I am most grateful for family recipes and holiday traditions. 

I woke at 4:30 and padded into the kitchen while the rest of my family slumbered.  I got out the eggs, milk, yeast, sugar and flour necessary for my Butterhorns.  I know that if my mom were not in New Zealand right now she would be doing the same thing.  I mix my rolls while listening to the sounds of predawn in our household.

After they raise and I successfully graded a few essays, put away a few legos and sat looking at the dark I form them like I have every Thanksgiving since I could sit on my mom's counter and help. 

"It's a gun car(ship).  It's only for using for missions and for tackling bad uniforms.  And they even make the constumes and I putted the jet pack on that guy and the gun on that guy."

When they come out of the oven they smell like warm yeast and I immediately drizzle frosting over them to add a hint of almond flavor and then sprinkle on chopped up walnuts.

It is important to me that I know the history behind these rolls.   I know that my mom likes to make a light glaze while I like a cream cheese frosting.  I know that my Gramma hated the fact that we made our butterhorns so they were thick because she baked hers flat.  I know my mom makes really big rolls but I have come to savor the smaller variety. 

I also like the memories that surround the sight and smell of these rolls.  One of my favorites is when I was in elementary school I decided to make these for the Bread Baking contest through 4-H.  I made batch after batch after batch trying to get it right.  My dad sportingly ate every attempt.  My mom left the house because she couldn't stand to let me do it alone and waste ingrediants we probably couldn't really afford.  (I can appreciate this selfless act now, but then...I'm not so sure).  After a long summer of practice, I won the grand prize and got my picture in the local paper.  My daughter likes to look at those newspaper articles before she goes to bed at night.

However, the rolls are made now and the obligatory two are in my stomach, so my thoughts are turning to a different tradition surrounding baking.  This one hasn't been around for quite so long, but feels like it has.  Kat is traveling many miles to my house (twice in one month!) with her daughter and we will decorate gingerbread houses, much like we have since we met.  This year we will be joined by my niece and a very excited small boy who has been talking about the pets his gingerbread man will have.  We will be decorating a fairy house, a carousel, several more traditional houses, and yes, pets. 

Hope your Thanksgiving is filled with family, friends, food, traditions and active imaginations!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Giving Thanks (by Kat)

It's pretty late as I sit here on the eve of Thanksgiving.
I'm thankful for my computer, my husband who keeps it running, my own desk.

Rolls are made, cauliflower au gratin is cooling in the shop.
I'm thankful for the cool weather that turns our shop into a fridge.
I'm thankful that nobody knows that the ingredients doubled as cat toys...

Unexpected company dropped in tonight, with the kitchen a mess
and me trying to finish up the November Daring Bakers challenge.
I'm thankful for relatives who care enough to drop in,
and having a yummy dessert to share at the table.

The stairs are one step closer to being finished.
I'm thankful for readers who forgive bad puns.

We're painting them red.
I'm thankful for cool paint names like "fine wine."

I'm thankful for my husband, whose creaks above my head mean
he's putting laundry away in our room upstairs.

I'm thankful for so much.

I'm thankful for you, dear reader.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Birthday (by Kat)

Happy Birthday, Bet.

And yeah, that's about all I've got right now.

Well, I do have some nice photos of pumpkin bread made with the pumpkin I processed on
Friday, but they're not on the computer yet.

I also took some photos of the basil and parsley I brought in for the winter. They're both doing well, although the photos would seem to indicate otherwise. I'll take some nicer photos and post those soon.

Let's see. Finished watching the TV series Firefly tonight. We've watched them all before, but this was the first time Leah was old enough to watch them with us.

Speaking of old, Bet, that's you. Thanks for scoping out the dangers of being another year closer to 40 for me. Terrifying stuff, so I'll let you go first.

Yup. That's all I've got right now.

Happy Birthday to you
You live far a-ways
But I'll see you soo-oon
In about two days.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Processing (by Kat)

Today I tried something new. I processed my own pumpkins. We raised a few pumpkins this year in the garden, just as we have in the past, but unlike the past, I'm determined to eat them this year.

I've heard it's easy to do, but I've kinda freaked out in the past over the details. Skin up or skin down? What temperature? How long? To strain or not to strain the cooked pulp?

Today I said to myself "Self, knock it off. Just try it."

My self said "OK."

See, aren't I easy to get along with?

I brought in the smallest pumpkin, washed it off, quartered it, and lined the pieces up on a greased cookie sheet. If you cut the pumpkin in quarters, you don't have to get hung up on what side goes up.

Is that cheating?

The hens were offered the innards.

They prefer worms.

Anyway, I baked them (the pumpkin quarters, not the hens, for about an hour, until they were a bit shriveled and fork tender. I think I could have let them cook for a little longer, as they were still a bit tough and stringy right in the center. But I don't think I caused any problems by removing them for the oven too soon.

After they were cooled down a bit, I scraped off the flesh and threw it into my food processor. Whiz, whiz, whiz and it was done.

I put the pulp into a cheesecloth lined strainer, and let some of the liquid drain off. When the remaining pumpkin had the consistency of the stuff in can I decided it was done.

From one pumpkin, I was able to freeze three 16 ounce bags of pumpkin (the equivalent of a small can) and had enough left over to make a loaf of pumpkin bread for dessert tonight.

Yummy. Fun. Frugal.

I win!

The Lacuna (by Kat)


Just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's new book "The Lacuna" late last night.

There's a pretty depressing review following the pretty picture. Just a warning. If you're in the mood to read depressing ravings, go through the forest (picture) and come out the other side. Don't say I didn't warn you!

Brrr. Snow!

I usually plunge into Kingsolver's books and emerge a day or two later feeling like a water nymph in the fountain of youth. I usually feel inspired to learn more about both current and historic political events. I usually start checking books out of the library dealing with wolves and other predators, conservation techniques, Nicaraguan refugees, cheese making, Appalachian history, development in arid lands. I can't look at a train without remembering that the conductor has to start applying his brakes just before the engine peaks at the top of the mountain pass. I look at stonewashed jeans and just cringe. I think to myself "a-ha, forgoing this purchase makes a bit of difference."

The Lacuna, however, just beat me down. It took almost a week to read, and at the end I just wanted to head out onto the street and exterminate the knee-jerk "patriotic" Americans who won't stand up for our constitutional rights.

Did you ever see the movie "Easy Rider?" Did you want to hunt down rednecks afterward? This book loaded me with ten times the vitriol, but aimed at people who want to teach creationism in public schools in place of science. People who wear their American flag lapel pins but want gun control. People living in America who think free speech applies to those who share their same values--everyone else should just shut up or move to Russia, they say.

The book ends up describing life in McCarthy era America. Some may see the book as a picture frame filled with troubling scenes of a by-gone era.

I saw it as a mirror.

During that era, the country fell under the spell of a few powerful people who convinced the government that anyone who doubted the direction of the current regime was a communist and should go to prison and/or face the death penalty. The citizens of America didn't protest their right to fair trials. They didn't protest their loss of free speech during the book bans. They didn't do anything when neighbors were hauled off in the middle of the night, under suspicion of communistic sympathies--even though the soviets and the US were allies up until the start of the second world war. As soon as Uncle Sam said boo, people were supposed to go back on everything they knew. AND THEY DID!

After all, getting rid of the commies was "best for the children."

On this side of the mirror, we're willing to put up with the same crap. Different war, different axis and allies. Same government saying you're with us or you're not American. Same government saying that, for the good of the children, we'll dispense with fair trial for anyone we think might be involved in terrorist activities.

Oh, and we won't let you know the evidence against you.

Oh, and of course we have the fight to tap your phone, even if the court says we don't have enough evidence to procure a legal warrant.

Oh, and Seattle's Mayor Nickel spent hundreds of thousands of dollars putting up signs banning guns after both the state and federal government told him that was unconstitutional.

Oh, and just read the paper. You'll see lots of people surrendering their constitutional rights. And calling themselves American at the same time.

The book was a mirror. What I saw was so ugly.

This time it isn't as easy as not buying the stone-washed jeans and learning more about predators.

This time it's figuring out how to combat the notion that laying down and taking it is good for the children.

I'm still crying.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chicken update (by Kat)

Just a quick little post to let everyone know that Cumy, the poor little hen that was munched by a dog, seems to be out of the woods.

I let her out for a few hours on Tuesday and Wednesday. She liked these little "field trips." The first few minutes she was out, the three of them had to reorganize and confirm their pecking status. After that, though, the other two hens didn't pick on her or peck at her, so I felt she was safe.

Today, she spent the entire day out. She still can't get over any obstacle higher than six inches, and definitely can't get up to the roost. So, tonight she was back in her own little henny hospital room.

It's just amazing what a chicken can live through.

Oh, and did I mention she laid an egg??!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It smells like headache in here (by Kat)

After hauling the box spring up the stairs, screwing the stair treads back into place, and getting a really good night's sleep, I was forced to move into the next phase of the project--the post-demolition phase.

I don't care for the post-demolition phase of any project as much as I do the actual demolition phase. Tearing down is so exciting, so swift, so easy!

Putting back together is slow, monotonous, laborious. Also, I get too caught up in the details. This slows down my ability to get started due to worrying, and then gets me frustrated during the doing because I can't get the details as neat as I'd like them to be.

So, after the treads were screwed back down, I looked through our stash of paint. The only primer I found was oil-based exterior grade. In an attempt to be frugal, I decided to use what we had instead of purchasing a new can of primer that would languish half-empty (or half-full?) under the stairs with the rest of the optimistic/pessimistic paint hoard.

So, paintbrush in hand, I primed every other step. This way, the stairs remain operational. If you remember to skip a step. Humans are good at skipping steps. Cats do not skip stairs. You can supply your own visual here, right? Four cats should reside in your visual, by the way.

Did I mention yet that it's below freezing here? We're past the open window season. Way past.

Oil based exterior grade primer is NASTY on the nose and lungs!!!!

Yesterday, I bought a can of interior grade latex primer. So, do I re-prime the already primed stairs? Only prime the bare wood stairs? Will the topcoat wear differently or have a different appearance over the two different primers?

So what does a headache smell like, folks? It smells like partially primed staircase.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Watching (by Bet)

I'm in class watching reading. 

Most would think this a boring repass, but I find it enlightening. 

We have been reading for thirty minutes.  Nary a drop in the hat for most, but for these kids it is an eternity.  Most days we read for a scant ten minutes. 

However, they need to progress in their books in order to talk abou their books.  They can't believe they are going to hold a sustained conversation about these books, but by the end of the month they will know what that feels like.

So here I am watching.  You could almost say lurking about, pondering what they are thinking while they read (or would it be "read"?). 

Some hunch themselves up into as tight a ball as they can at a standard public school table and still see the book.  It is almost like they are protecting themselves from the words.

Others are more consumed with the soundtrack of their books than the books themselves, constantly playing with the controls of their Ipods.

Another sits so loosely draped over their chair I think they might slide to a puddle on the floor; the book sits open on their desk.

I watch as two whisper to one another oblivious to their teacher's eyes.

Yet one more is busy making shapes with his hands, desperately trying to get his companion's attention to see if they will laugh.  It is his goal to disrupt the absolute silence we master just this once every period, and then only for moments at a time. 

None of the students seem to reap the same joy that I do when I read.  My husband claims that it is almost comical watching my face as I read.  Everything I am thinking crosses over it unchecked.

Most of my students expressions are blank.  Once a year I might spy a tear in one's eye brought on by the beauty of words, or an out loud laugh inspired by the wit of an author.

Someday I hope that I help them stumble across the book that makes watching them read less of an arduous task and more of an amazing journey.  In the meantime I will continue to answer the never ending question "Do we have to read today?"  with "Of course, when else can you let words wind through your world unfettered?"  (Yes, it confuses them, but what else do I have to do with my day?)

P.S. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is great fun.  I can't wait to finish it so that we can pass it on.

Monday, November 16, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream (by Kat)

A few years ago, we bought a new mattress set.
A year previous, we bought a house built in 1910.

Those of you with older homes are already laughing. It's really a pretty common story, isn't it? It's common enough around my town that the furniture store should really post a warning. Of course, they'd sell fewer mattress sets that way, so it probably won't happen anytime soon.

Those of you with newer homes might be feeling lost about now.

I'll let you in on a secret. The staircases in older homes usually lack the headspace needed to get a boxframe larger than a twin-size up to the second floor. So for the past few years the mattress and the boxspring were relegated to separate homes--the mattress in our room, and the boxspring out in the shop, still wrapped up in its protective plastic bag.

My back has been hurting more and more lately, but stopped when I went to visit Bet last week. When I returned home, the stiff neck I've had since August returned. The lower back spasms forced me to walk like someone four times my age. I was angry.... I was in pain.... I took charge....

The stairs suffered my wrath.
The carpet was entirely ripped up. All but the top three stair treads were removed.

There was heaving, pulling, grunting, and sweating.

The treads were replaced, the artwork covered up, and now I have to paint the stairs.
My neck is no longer stiff, and my back hurts a whole lot less!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Paper Sphere Decorations (by Kat)

I've seen spheres for sale in catalogs and at all the "cool" stores.
No way I'm paying money for those!

The other day I came across a 'How-To' on the web, but it was clear as mud.
After a few hours, I finally figured it out, though.

As it turns out, these are a piece of cake to make.
I hope my pictures and instructions help you out,
and save you the frustration I was feeling last night.

One word of warning: if you have an addictive personality, welcome to your newest addiction!

I learned how to do these using white card stock.
Bad Idea! Use colored paper (the first time at least)and stay sane!
At least, saner...

Stack the paper, and cut to a width of about 3/8 inch.
One centimeter is also a good width.

Using scissors, make a little notch on the top of the strips
going from right to left.

On the bottom of the strips, cut a notch from left to right.

Choose one strip and interlock the notches to make a ring.

You want the tabs on the inside, not sticking out like this one below.

Lay the remaining five strips out in a star pattern.
Notice that the ends overlap; they do not come to a point.

Now, each strip must be woven.
Notice that the lefty of each pair is underneath the righty.
Then, each strip continues over and under the others until it comes out the other side.
The lefty starts underneath, but ends up as a righty on the far side.
This takes several drinks to get right when you're using all white paper.
Just sayin'.

Now, tighten down all strips until you have a little pentagon in the middle.
The strips will feel somewhat locked into place .

Now, lay your closed ring right on top of the star.

Facing me, in the photo below, the purple strip is underneath the brown strip.
Pull that strip up through the center of the ring.

Here, the black is under the pink, so the black strip comes up and through.

Continue all the way around, then tighten the ring down solidly.

This part's cool. Flip it over and you'll see a star.
If you don't see a star, or it isn't woven properly, take the ring off and try again.
I spent a good 45 minutes getting this right last night!

Now, arbitrarily choose one strip and close the ends.
Make sure the little tabs are inward-facing.
Here, I chose brown.

Then black.
When I got to purple, I could see that since it came over the orange ring,
it should then go below the brown, then over the black.

Next came light blue.
It had gone over the orange, so I knew it went below the black
and then over the purple.
You can see that pink will go over the orange, under the purple, over the blue.

Inspect the ball for non-conforming weave patterns.
Just undo the tabs and reweave if you find any.
I always do. Lots.
But that's between you and me.

And here it is! One ball down, millions to go!