Monday, February 23, 2015

early springtime is early...


... in which our plucky heroine notices that right next door, the sunshine says that spring is here, even though the calendar denies it...

Saturday was the Dragon's Mist monthly Arts & Sciences shindig, with many classes offered... Despite only a few hours of sleep the night before, since Seattle pals arrived here shortly before dawn, my class on Surface Couching and the Bayeux Tapestry stitch went surprisingly rather well. All the students were able to do both stitches in the two hours allotted, and we even delved into the mystery of Outline Stitch. Had some good feedback about an additional way to improve the class by using a series of step-by-step samples of the stitching process (a la Julia Child).

The afternoon I devoted to learning something new to me: "Punto in Aria" 16th century style needle lace. In the four hour class, we started on a wee sample of the very basics of this stitchery:
This is the not-quite-completed sample of a technique that is a lot of fun to work. The pattern is on thin cardboard, and all the joining places have a basted thread to guide the actual lacemaking and hold it in place until it is all properly stitched.

The completed Punto in Aria needlelace medallion is surprisingly solid for something so dainty... I have done nothing to it other than cut the basting threads and take it off the cardboard and it stands up all by itself! Thank you to THL Prudence Goodheart for a wonderful workshop, you are an inspiring and passionate instructor!
:::

Sunday was an excursion to our local Ikea, with much looking at various housey items, a break in the middle for necessary and tasty lunch (thank you Jess, the salmon gravlax was delicious!) and I not only brought home the beechwood cutting board I have been eyeing, but also found inexpensive packages of ball bearing shower rings (BRINGEN) that I had no idea Ikea carried, since they are not on the website. Those will be just the thing for the closet curtains I plan on making, and this means I need not hunt them down by going to hardware stores all over town, as delightful but excessively time-consuming as that would be...

:::

February SMART goals
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1blue tunic embroideryKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
2corbie cowlnightstands clearedbag to Goodwill
3gastropod needlebookbed lamps transformedbag to Goodwill
4blue kitty needlebooklamp brackets installedbag to Goodwill
5rosewater candied peelcloset clearedpaper recycling
6-dressers movedpaper recycling
7-kitchen art rearrangedcardboard recycle
8-
monitor to Goodwill
9-
paper recycling
10--box to Goodwill
11--bag to Goodwill
hmmm... still need to fix a few more things this month...
:::

Friday, February 20, 2015

not just wasting cubic...


...in which our plucky heroine has a day so subtle and good...

Took part of the day off to go see the Carson Ellis show over at Nationale, which was unsurprisingly well worth looking at. I love her design sense and sweet whimsy. The show was her original illustrations from "Home", her new picture book just being published...

Stopped off on my bus journey back home to give my beloved acupuncturist and friend Sharon Rose a hug, and ended up being able to help by driving (in her car) over to pick up the desperately needed cat food, while she was working. So I got extra hug goodness, got to practice my driving, got to be helpful, got to snag myself some supper at Viking Soul Food (mmmm smoked salmon lefse wrap), and the day isn't even over yet! Tonight my Seattle pals Eva and Mickey are staying here overnight...
:::

Had this song running through my head today... a good day... a day when I am not just filling up cubic, but delighting in beauty and following the breeze of connection... grateful to be still dancing in the bright world...

:::

February SMART goals
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1blue tunic embroideryKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
2corbie cowlnightstands clearedbag to Goodwill
3gastropod needlebookbed lamps transformedbag to Goodwill
4blue kitty needlebooklamp brackets installedbag to Goodwill
5rosewater candied peelcloset clearedpaper recycling
6-dressers movedpaper recycling
7-kitchen art rearrangedcardboard recycle
8-
monitor to Goodwill
9-
paper recycling
10--box to Goodwill
11--

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

progress report on the very messy sewing room


...in which our plucky heroine notices results...

In my life happy change happens slowly. Back last August, sketches of ideas for the small bedroom were a seed, and that September saw the start of decluttering the fabric and textile zone. Uncounted bags of excess things were sent to Goodwill and to SCRAP, and while the first pass of declutter has finally been completed, another round will accompany the actual organising of the space, yet to occur. At least the room now easily converts to a guest space, which is one of the two desired functions, and also works well as a sewing space. Come, let's take a tour...

The west wall, after the first pass of decluttering, prior to the yet-to-be-done sorting of things into dedicated places.

Once I have a chance to get going on phase two, this wall will have everything below the wall shelf removed, and possibly shallow shelving added, for things like serger cone thread and pressing tools. There will be room in the corner to store the ironing board. The patterns need another sort and cull, and they can be stored in a less accessible location, as they are mostly reference material and not actively in use. I am thinking that my yarn stash could live on the top shelf, it is light, and doesn't cause damage when falling from shelves in earthquakes.

The north wall... Now there is room on either side of the futon couch, which makes it easier for guests to get in and out of bed. This is also where I sit when sewing; the futon is a good height and the folding sewing tables are close at hand.

Pretty happy with how this part of the room works... phase two (for this side of the room) involves adding a hanging light near the futon, and a small storage nightstand next to it, for guests. Oh, and at some point all the carpet will be removed in this room, and replaced with the Ikea flooring I purchased years ago, and the walls will be painted some color of the not-white variety.

The east wall, the primary storage for fabric and machines, after the first pass of decluttering. There will be a second sort later, but for now it is all visible and accessible. I love my sewing machine shelf! The small folding tables (leaning against the wall under the shelves) that Natasha gifted to me see frequent use here, and not just for sewing. I am so grateful that she suggested and included the second table, and I think of her generosity every time I use them...

Phase two for this wall will involve actually organising the fabric, and moving commonly used notions and supplies into decorative functional storage in the prime shelf location in the corner. (long range plans are to build in more wall-hung shelving and find new homes for the bulky corner shelves...)

The south (closet) wall is very much a work in process, and most of what is here will be moved into other configurations or may go away with the second pass of declutter and sort. I am planning a curtain for the "closet door" to reduce the visual clutter in the room while preserving easy access.

Phase two will include dealing with the wall of clipboards, a second declutter sort of the closet contents, and organising them into user-friendly groupings, and making space in the IVAR shelves for "sewing for others" projects. I'd love to replace the central chipboard/laminate dresser/wire drawer unit, possibly with more IVAR, but that will probably need to wait 'til phase three!
:::

February SMART goals
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1blue tunic embroideryKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
2corbie cowlnightstands clearedbag to Goodwill
3gastropod needlebookbed lamps transformedbag to Goodwill
4blue kitty needlebooklamp brackets installedbag to Goodwill
5rosewater candied peelcloset clearedpaper recycling
6-dressers movedpaper recycling
7-kitchen art rearrangedcardboard recycle
8-
monitor to Goodwill
9-

10--
11--

Sunday, February 15, 2015

weekend wanderings


... in which our plucky heroine is continuing to dedicate a portion of the before breakfast think-and-design time to the pieces for the art show this April....

It has been a long time since I made pieces of art "just because" instead of just for work.  My "brilliant" concept for the necklace portion of this piece turned out not so brilliant... using bone and mother-of-pearl buttons will be far too visually solid (plus uncomfortably heavy to wear)... back to square zero and rethink that part of the design. This pendant necklace is only part of a larger composite artwork, and will be detachable from it, so it will need to work with the larger composition in addition to as an independent art object.
:::

Saturday my pal Ursel came over, and we went on a St Johns ramble round for an afternoon excursion, with lunch at Anna Bannanas, and then a walk down to Cathedral Park and back, which resulted in not only a weary if plucky heroine but 8230 steps (almost three miles) logged into the pedometer today, a personal best so far this year! I get tired, and have to stop and rest, but I am determined to rebuild my stamina. And truly 'twas a lovely temperate day for a walkabout and looksee...
This wee cottage has another house or shed back behind it, and a lovely Arts and Crafts color scheme of rusty red, deep sage green and lots of natural wood.

Looking up at the underside of the iconic St Johns Bridge, from the dock on the river in Cathedral Park.

At the start of the walk back up the hill, the lowering light made amazing shadows along the sidewalk...

.. and Ursel was captivated by the mossy landscapes on the parapet

Couldn't resist another hellebore portrait, these were outside of Burgerville... We finished up our ramble with a visit to St Johns Booksellers which is always worth a treasure hunting visit, and then headed back home for some beadwork before Ursel left for home
:::

Since my Le Beguinage swap partner is far more organised about getting things mailed out… my package arrived before the deadline for mailing! She included some of my favorite and always somehow gone missing tools (yarn needles and pocket tape measure), some fun note taking supplies, chocolate in the form of mohair, a Very Useful set of vintage interchangeable needles, origami paper that will be most welcome at this years Honor Feast (our guest of honor has a Japanese persona) and a fun knitted crown. The crown is charming, though will admit that at first was a bit baffled about the “odd sort of knitted collar”, and then it dawned on me what it was… plus I suspect that when my two young friends Ellie and Laurel come to visit, it will be a lovely prop for imaginative play.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

a busy day, or two and a half miles walked...


... in which our plucky heroine has a productive day...

Today leapt awake from a most desolate dreamland thinking the doorbell was ringing. While the entry walk was barren of guests at that early hour, later than day had a friend visit, who also likes to walk. Her companionship not only encouraged a more productive day, but doubled my average number of daily steps, since we took several walks between housey projects and social/meal cooking time. Thank you Freydis for your moral support and encouragement!
:::

This afternoon I rearranged the artwork on the west wall of the kitchen, since raising the wee fridge on the plinth changed the shape of the area visible above the fridge and freezer... this looks better, and also allows room for future artworks. The photo also makes me realise how this room cries out to have the walls painted, once the weather warms up a tad...

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this is how the artwork was formerly - and now in this arrangement instead
:::

As mayhap forgot to mention at the time, started work earlier this month on some historical and delicious tidbits from "The Good Housewife's Jewel"(pub. 1596/7)... During the short window when Seville oranges were available, not only did some jars of marmalade get put up, but another few oranges were set aside to made candied peel; not only a favorite confection of self and friends, but will become an entry in the "preserved food" category of the Three Pillars competition at Egils this summer. The reason to do this now rather than closer to May, is that Seville oranges are more similar to the ancient type of orange, being more bitter and sour than the modern hybrids.
On February 2nd, began the experiment with period candied/preserved orange peel, the Seville orange peels are soaked in water. The various recipes (there are six in the chapter on preserving fruits) call for anywhere between two days to twelve days, with changing the water at least once a day or three times a day. Some recipes call for boiling, steeping, and only then changing the water...

translucent orange peel, after blanching for nine days... one of the period recipes states "You may know when they be steeped enough, if you hold them up to the sun and see through them, then they be steeped enough..."
Today began the process of imbuing the now translucent peel with sugar, it is cut into strips and steeping in a hot mixture of sugar and a modest amount of the final steeping fluid. Am very tempted to divide the peel into two different pots; some recipes call for the addition of rosewater, and others for cinnamon and ginger. It would be interesting to have two different flavors of confection...
:::

Today the dressers are back in the bedroom closet, which means the rest of the room already feels a lot more open, even with many boxes of random stuff yet to sort through... every step made towards decluttering it gets easier to let go of objects no longer a vital loved part of life here, and to make room for the useful and beautiful things that remain. With recycling and Goodwill both close to hand, and effort made by our plucky heroine and friends the cottage is slowly regaining the flow and clarity it had before my cancer journey brought everything to a screeching halt.
:::

The Hellebore in the front yard garden bed is blooming now. This is their normal flowering season; in Idaho I saw them flowering in the snow... Their flowers are simple and lovely, and apparently once the plants are settled in a place that suits them, they are durable and long-lived. Just the sort of plant that is ideal for Acorn Cottage...

:::

February SMART goals
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1blue tunic embroideryKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
2corbie cowlnightstands clearedbag to Goodwill
3
bed lamps transformedbag to Goodwill
4
lamp brackets installedbag to Goodwill
5
closet clearedpaper recycling
6-dressers movedpaper recycling
7-kitchen art rearrangedcardboard recycle
8-

9-

10--
11--

Monday, February 9, 2015

an illuminating difference


... in which our plucky heroine is quite happy with how the results of today's effort look and function (refurbished bedside lamps) though the bedroom transformation is going more slowly than hoped for... (ongoing note to self: remember that incremental progress is still progress)

Today, the nightstand lamps are now hanging lanterns, which leaves both the nightstand shelves clear to hold the useful things like a water bottle, eyeglasses, alarming clock, plus whatever book(s) is/are current bedtime reading. The south side of the bed had the same treatment applied, and there is room for some flowers or a bit of other natural beauty.
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I'm really happy with the graceful forged iron brackets holding up the lanterns; while I'd have loved to commission some extra special brackets from one of my assorted blacksmith pals, the current state of the piggybank necessitated instead inexpensive garden store plant hangers. I did spend a lot of time sorting through the selection to find a pair that had matching curves and nicely forged curled tips

This is what the lamps looked like before: rather triffid-like with wobbly tall legs. They were a yard sale find ten years ago; I wanted a matched pair of bedside lamps, and while I am quite fond of the rustic paper lantern aspect, the legs were never a good fit for the nightstand shelves (see how close one of the legs is to the edge), and finally the idea of mounting them on wall brackets swam into the forefront of my imagination... When I deconstructed the lamp, it was apparent that there was no way to easily remove the legs, it took a vise and hacksaw to  deal with them. Once that was taken care of, it was straightforward to install wall anchors, to secure the forged brackets to the walls, and to reattach all the lamp parts together

There was quite an alarming amount of detritus that had collected on the both nightstands over time: magazines and books, toiletries, spare light bulbs and all sorts of random frelch... The paper lantern shell at the far left was replaced on the lamp frame after reconfiguration, and with effort and luck the bed will be uncovered  and re-made before bedtime...

:::

February SMART goals
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1blue tunic embroideryKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
2corbie cowlnightstands clearedbag to Goodwill
3
bed lamps transformedbag to Goodwill
4
lamp brackets installedbag to Goodwill
5

paper recycling
6-
paper recycling
7-

8-

9-

10--
11--

Sunday, February 8, 2015

john barleycorn and other Sunday snippets


Last week saw a lot of time in front of the enameling kiln, which when on, keeps the studio cozy in winter (compared to the rest of the the house) I really needed to stretch to get all the details just as desired on these small enamels. Central dragon heads in process, using Limoges enamel technique. Top one ready for the kiln, bottom one waiting to be detailed. Bear in mind that the dragon heads are less than 1/2" tall...

Have been working steadily on Dragon's Mist coronet project, and had a chance to consult with Mr Dawson yesterday about some of the details of construction, as well as handing off the central panels to be engraved with dragons on either side of the central enamel medallions. The first step is the heraldic Dragon's Mist enamels; many, many hours of work, and they are complete. The entire central design is less than 1" in diameter. I am pleased...

:::

Very rarely indeed do I find something on FB that I want to share, but a friend posted this acoustic version of an old classic just delighted me...

:::

February SMART goals
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1blue tunic embroideryKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
2corbie cowl
bag to Goodwill
3

bag to Goodwill
4

bag to Goodwill
5

paper recycling
6-
paper recycling
7-

8-

9-

10--
11--
Today spent the middle of the day working with Kaitlin on further decluttering of the sewing/guest room. Made progress as shown in the "Things Gone" category. Lots more to do, it seems neverending, but will eventually yield a home that has only things loved, and materials, supplies, and tools ready to create with... I hold fast to that dream, and take action to turn it to my reality, now that I imagine I will have a life long enough to make the effort...