Field Report (Unofficial)

On Friday the Construction I class went on a field trip to a local mason(as in brick layer, tile workers, stone workers) training facilitiy. Here we were instructed on how to build a basic brick and concrete block cavity wall. We were then allowed to practice what we were taught on small practice walls. The efficiency of some groups and the craft of others was interesting to see. Certainly it looks easy and inuitive to build a brick or concrete wall but there are many elements, such as the amount of mortar to place or how to ‘butter’ a brick, which are practiced and become second nature to the masons which didn’t come naturally to many of us.

It is also easier to understand how mistakes can be made in construction, particularly if someone is not to aware of all the details or the standard it should replicate. As well it’s important to be aware that each person has their own style, preference, and history of successful completion which needs to be taken into account when deciding who to work with.  Understanding and working with all of your construction crew, whatever their speciality, is really important!

Above is a photo of the classroom set up, the reference wall built for instruction, and two walls made by different groups which show different stages of progress.

Cooking Breaks!

I know school can get really busy and sometimes meals take a back seat in terms of preparation. However a nice home cooked meal every now and then makes a big difference. I notice that I feel happier, in part because of the accomplishment of cooking and in part because of the food I’m eating. This particular cooking break was choreographed by Abuela, who gave me tips on cooking the pasta sauce from scratch. While not ideal, I’d have liked the sauce to be thicker, the sauce tasted great and went nicely with the pasta. What is even cooler is that it didn’t take that long to make, maximum 15 minutes.


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After talking with some studio friends about how they approach meals I feel like meal planning, more than before, is an appealing option which can make these kinds of mental breaks more feasible. The goal is not to make every meal something new. Out of 7 meals make 4 meals you already know how to prepare, 2 can be newer meals which require a little more time to cook out, and 1 can be a spin on something you already make. This kind of planning also takes into account that you will have leftovers for these meals so you won’t need to remake lunch. Then your breakfast routine is the only meal still left to be decided on.

Halloween Happy Hour

Of the many Happy Hours hosted on Friday’s by PennDesign Student Government, this one was spooktacular.

There were drinks, alcoholic and non, doughnuts, and pizza. A lively game of toss’n’score (commonly played at football games tailgates) going on right next to a large group of mingling students. Music in the background helped set the halloween feel as students chatted amongts the glow in the dark portraits and cobwebs. Sadly I missed the pumpkin carving and the costume contest. However I did see many of the costumes being set up in studio and the ingenuity was refreshing. Of all the happy hours this is one not to miss! Next year I will assuredly be there. 




Rittenhouse Square Farmer’s Market

This past weekend I visited the Rittenhouse Square Farmers Market. A little more expensive than the Clark Park Farmer’s Market, this one features some unique stands. One such stand was a pickle stand. While you’d typically think of pickles being the sweet or sour cucumbers in brine solution, there were a variety of pickled foods. Some of the pickles included artichoke, sundried tomatoes, onions, peppers, olives, and of course the standard cucumber. As well this market had a plant stand, not the usual flower stand, but actual potted plants of many varieties. If you are in search of small potted plants for an indoor garden this has a nice range of potentials.

If the farmer’s market isn’t quite what you were hoping for in terms of weekend outings, this market’s location in downtown makes it a great starting point for a weekend downtown. Just a few blocks north of the market, on Chestnut, there are several outlet stores all in a row. These outlet stores are just the start to a long row of shopping stores on both sides of the street. If you’re looking to update you’re fall fashion or prep for winter this is a great place to start.

There is one place I didn’t have the chance to stop and check out, but hope to soon. For those Mac’n’Cheese lover’s there appears to be a cafe dedicated to Mac’n’Cheese in downtown Philadelphia.