Monday, January 23, 2017

Monday miscellany



in which our plucky heroine attempts to focus on the everyday good, mostly...

My chickens are gorram special. I just spent several hours wandering around in the dark (with a flashlight) trying to find them, since they were not in their house tonight. Flew over the chookyard fencing. No apparent signs of any varmints, just sheer cussedness on their part apparently. One was sleeping in a wet planter pot instead of the nice dry chookhouse. The other one had not only flown the coop, but also the yard fence and was hanging out in the carport with the assorted lumber scraps. I am not amused. I am going to have to create a more enclosed habitat for them. Somehow. It may involve giving them less space temporarily.
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Read that Stitcher's Guild is likely to return to active status maybe as soon as tomorrow... I can't wait. After eleven days, I really miss the ongoing "chatter" in my favorite corner of the virtual world.
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Am continuing to sort through the assorted fabric pieces stashed in the textile/guest room. So far have filled up 5 1/2 grocery bags full to re-distribute or discard, and may have passed the tipping point between small pieces to keep and those to leave. (small pieces being defined as pieces too small to make an entire garment from) I am keeping what is useful for edgebinding, or precious and beautiful, a few smaller knit pieces suitable for adding to my Alabama Chanin garments in the future, and a small assortment suitable for either SCA trimmings, or for next years holiday gifts. Oh, and anything indigo. Because indigo.
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Drew some pictures today as requested by my pal Thora. Two imaginary cities, loosely based on assorted medieval manuscript illuminations...
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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 patches for march Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 creative drawings charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared bag to Goodwill
6 - EBT application in bag to Goodwill
7 - bookcase tidied bag to Goodwill
8 - textile shelf leveled bag for Powells
9 - shadowbox tidied bag for Powells
10 - stripey cuffs mended 5+ bags fabric
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
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Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday snippets



once the snow began to melt and the ice dissapear... our plucky heroine followed this pathway along the side yard...

the eastern sunlight so warm it felt like striking sparks from the tips of the moss on the chookhouse roof. The landscapes of moss country are always fascinating to me, I spent a lot of time five years ago photographing them all around the local neighborhoods...

Then there were these mysterious tracks in the last remaining snow, which research showed to be squirrel footprints...  -   -   -  ->

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Given the general state of the world and our country in particular, I am attempting to balance action and effort with a modicum of self-care. There are only few things I know that compare to the delight of exploring a new-to-me book by a favorite writer. I was able to borrow "Summerlong" by Peter S Beagle, and am allowing self a few pages at a time, several times a day, to encourage my forward momentum. The wonderfully rich and specific way he uses words, and what to me feels like a glimpse of essential inner lovingkindness, have been invaluable to me.

I first read his "The Last Unicorn" in 1970 (according to my memory and the copyright on my very battered paperback, bought at the New England Mobile Book Fair with a combination of allowance and babysitting money) and have been a delighted if inconstant fan ever since. I read things, and then life distracts me, and then I come back again and remember how nourishing the writings are... Am considering making a reading list, and then after that choosing to add a bit to my heavily curated home library...


Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday fragments


in which our plucky heroine remembers that, despite everything, there is still beauty in the bright world...

at Green Zebra (a local grocery), I saw the most beautiful display of oyster mushrooms...


and a closer look at one of the clusters:

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I seem to be doing a lot of mending and repair this month, despite my desire to be making and doing. Whilst beginning on the large task of mucking out the textile room, I found some knitted fabric that lent itself to renewingone of my favorite knit tops, the stripey grey and black turtleneck. While mostly in good shape, the cuffs had become worn away in spots, and so this very narrow knit stripes in black and white were added to the ends to get a bit more another few years of wear out of it. I am considering also adding some Alabama Chanin style applique as well, since it is becoming a bit more "bohemian" a garment...

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Now that the library zone is done, I've moved on to tackle a much more challenging part of Acorn Cottage: the textile zone! The small bedroom here serves multiple functions, it is a combination guest space and stitchery workspace, at least in theory. However, my fabric stash has rather taken over, primarily due to my inability difficulty in discarding smaller pieces of fabric that "might be useful". My intention here is to make the space be orderly enough so that guests will feel comfortable staying here, that I have space to work on projects for myself and on commission sewing jobs, and that I am able to easily find, among my supplies and tools, whatever I need from the things on hand.

I expect this to take a bit of time, as it is more complex than dealing with books and magazines; I also am resigned to it looking worse before it gets better, since all the small bits tucked away in bins or drawers will need to be sorted through and recombined into a not yet created system that makes sense to me. For right now, though, here is a picture of one wall with the newly orderly piles of larger fabric pieces, those with enough yardage to create garments:

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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 patches for march Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 - charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared bag to Goodwill
6 - EBT application in bag to Goodwill
7 - bookcase tidied bag to Goodwill
8 - textile shelf leveled bag for Powells
9 - shadowbox tidied bag for Powells
10 - stripey cuffs mended -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Cancerversary - the resistance of the small


Five years now...

from the day I woke up in hospital, minus some parts I considered essential, but which as it turns out would have essentially ended my life rather quickly...
Today my thoughts are conglomerate, embedded in a deep matrix of gratitude for my continued life. Had I not been successful in our states lottery* for access to health insurance coverage, back in 2011, my cancer would have been untreated and I wouldn't be here writing these words. So many of my beloved friends and family were amazingly supportive during the surgery and long recovery, their kindness lives on as bright as the sun in my heart. The difficulty I had in finding medical practitioners willing to accept state health coverage, which delayed my diagnosis by an additional six months. The excellent care I now receive at the cancer center, that has allowed me to continue building a life as a survivor...

... and now, my intense worry about losing my health insurance, as the new political administration is determinedly starting to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, with no signs of any "great plan" at all to replace it. As a cancer survivor, I am "uninsurable". As a self employed artisan, I have no "coverage through my workplace"... As our plucky heroine, I shall do all in my tiny power to resist those who would call my life valueless, and all the lives of the other "small" folk who are excluded from the tables of the powerful and rich. 

...everything can change
in the blink of an eye
so let the good times roll
before we say goodbye...


- from "The Bug" by Mark Knofler


* Every year, or less often if there were no new funds, the state health plan opened a lottery for uninsured citizens to apply for health insurance. If you were lucky, you might be selected to be able to apply. I was in the lottery five times. Five years attempting. The year I was lucky, there were over 10,000 applicants for a little more than 1,000 openings. The next year, I was diagnosed with cancer.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

wishful Wednesday - SG


in which our plucky heroine is wishing that SG was back online...

My favorite online community has been down for days now. I am referring, of course, to Stitcher's Guild, an online international message board that connects people who sew. Over the years I have been participating there, it has come to be much more than just typing in boxes, even though I have only ever met one of the participants in my brightworld life. Every day now I click on the link to the site, and get the dreaded 404 message.

I realised that over on Patternreview there might be information about what what happening... and sure enough, in the Forums section under Web Site talk, there is a thread about "SG down?" DragonLady (who owns the message board) posted over on the PR thread on Monday: "'Lo everyone! I'm just popping in to let everyone know that SG is being worked on. Please be patient, as this is happening over a holiday weekend, and everything takes time -and patience. But I promise the hosts and I are working together to resolve the issues to bring us back online ASAP.
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the last of the local snow lizards, basking in the cold sunlight, before the rains came and washed them all away...

The thawing snow recedes,
and leaves my liquid heart visible once more...
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

a dream and other Tuesday tidbits.


in which our plucky heroine has a very vivid and unusual dream. Wandering inside a store like Powells, only in Japan. And they also sold fabric on one whole floor. My delight was all in browsing the aisles and racks full of beautiful fabrics. Not in finding but looking. Was entirely unlike any other visit to dreamland, and an area I had not discovered before.
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After spending a huge chunk of the day stocking up on some extra groceries in case the predicted ice storm hits us hard, I was thinking about sewing, but decided instead to continue my efforts with the "library zone" here at Acorn Cottage. After previous efforts had the bookcase all tidy, the remaining work was to clear away the random items stacked on the top... That took about an hour.

When my coach asked what I wanted to do next, I said "tomorrow, how about the shadow box?" She thought that would be fairly simple and suggested that we go ahead with it tonight...

Well, it contained rather a lot of tiny trinkets, as well as larger artifacts and an astonishing number of rocks. I often find interesting rocks and bring them home, and apparently this is a common behavior in people that struggle with clutter, or at least the ones my coach has worked with... I sorted out what I wanted to keep, what needed to live somewhere else, like the metronome belongs with the music things, etc. and what things were no longer resonant in my life... After another several hours, I can confidently call the library zone DONE!
The arrangement in the shadowbox is temporary, and I'd like to find some new paper to line it with, as the old paper had become faded and patchy. The top of the bookcase will just stay empty for now; though my original intention is for the area between the upper and lower bookcase to be used to display interesting or seasonal things,  each artifact I have tried to put there looks really odd, small, and isolated. I'd like to add some lighting underneath the upper bookcase shelf, and think about how best to use the newly free space.
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You can bring a chicken water, but you can't make them drink! My hens are goofy. I brought them nice fresh slightly warmed water today, because as always, when the weather is this cold, the water freezes solid pretty quickly. Did they avail themselves of said nice liquid water? nope! They decided that eating snow was better! If they do it again tomorrow, I will try and photograph them, with their little beaks all snowy.
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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 patches for march Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 - charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared bag to Goodwill
6 - EBT application in bag to Goodwill
7 - bookcase tidied bag to Goodwill
8 - textile shelf leveled bag for Powells
9 - shadowbox tidied bag for Powells
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday musings

in which our plucky heroine is grateful for friends near and far...

Given the condition of the roads, I was quite surprised that my beloved Blue Cedar House pals decided to come down Saturday to stay overnight and give a helping hand. I was grateful as well for the distraction of guests, given both the weather and my rather unrelenting and painful stiff neck.

Quite a bit of additional progress happened here over the day and a half that they were here: Farbjorn readjusted the textile room over the door shelf to a more level orientation, dragged masses of fresh bedding out to my Ungrateful Hens, and did yeoman service in cooking delicious meals, while his wife, Mindy of the Marvels, aka Thora, helped me dust and cull the bookcase and contents, to allow room for most of the books to be arranged vertically, as contrasted with the prior higgledy-piggledy bookcase.
There are still a cluster of "things" on the near end of the central shelf that need to find appropriate homes (a task for this week) and a stack of books at the far end, paperbacks and Whole Earth Catalogs, that are waiting for two new suitable bookshelves to be built.  In addition, she and I did a very rough first pass through the fabrics in the textile room, ostensibly because we were looking for some particularly useful to her fabrics. The results of our two major weekend projects were three bags for Goodwill, two for Powells credit (hopefully), and a modest amount of paper into the recycle bin.
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My neighbor M came over Sunday afternoon, and I taught her how to knit! Later that evening she took me along to a gathering of women preparing for the local womens march this coming weekend. There was a whole room of women knitting pussyhats, and another room of women making placards, and smaller pin on patches to share:

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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 patches for march Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 - charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared bag to Goodwill
6 - EBT application in bag to Goodwill
7 - bookcase tidied bag to Goodwill
8 - textile shelf leveled bag for Powells
9 - - bag for Powells
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
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