Friday, February 24, 2017

sometimes wishes come true


in which our plucky heroine finds that N.E.D. is the outcome...

It has been a very rocky week here at Acorn Cottage, between my worry about possible recurrence, and the actual additional medical fu of having viral bronchitis. Now am back home again after my consultation visit this afternoon with my oncologist - GOOD NEWS, all the test results came back normal! I guess with luck I will be around for a while longer!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Tuesday tidbit - the shapely Viking apron dress


in which our plucky heroine, though still sick as a dog, stashes these instruction here, in case anyone is interested...

This simple to make, simple to cut out, patternless pinafore is based on cloth fragments from the Viking Age. We have almost no completed garments, but tattered fragments were tarred and used as ship caulking; said caulking, recovered from archaeological digs, has been interpreted to be parts of a garment like this one. What I like about this concept is that it is also basically a zero waste sewing project. Helpful nowadays, but much more important back in history when every piece of clothing was made from fibers prepared from the raw wool or flax.

page one of handout sheet


second page of handout sheet


Useful schematic of how this pattern works


worksheet for 3 panel apron-dress


worksheet for 4 panel apron dress

additional notes: It is necessary to make some thin shoulder straps, either from excess fabric on one edge, or from some complementary fabric. This pattern lends itself to embellishment. Since we don't usually hold our clothing together with brooches, unlike in the Viking Age, it would be simple to just stitch the shoulder straps in place fore and aft. For modern wear, any useful finish of the raw edges will do just fine, I usually serge the seams and bind the hemline and the top edge. The missing sheet of my handout is the one on early period seam treatments - here is some similar information, and some more useful seam tips... and here are some decorative seam embroidery stitches

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Sunday snippets


in which our plucky heroine enjoys some progress and distraction...

My dear Blue Cedar House pals came down for the weekend, which is always a treat! We managed to get a few projects completed, and made plans for a number of others, which were are still waiting on my schematic drawings, for things like the remaining bookshelves, or an improved tablet weaving loom. I am going to continue moving forward as if moving forward is a given, the alternative feels like borrowing trouble early...
So, a big project this weekend was moving the hens from the south side of the back yard to the east corner. The idea is to have them dig up all the weedy patches, which they greatly enjoy, and give them a sunnier patch for now, since it will be months before they need shelter from too much sun. Fresh ground is healthy for them, and I will be able to get into their former yard to do some much needed maintenance.
Their new enclosure has taller wire fencing, and we did a better job of creating a gateway which hopefully will no longer snag and tear my pinafores. I added in a low chook door to the fence, in the hopes of finally being able to deploy my chicken hurdles to give them additional access to more areas to clear. In time, my plan is to have a kind of chicken "moat" around the edges of the yard, so they can remove and trim the weeds along the fenceline. Since only one of the two hens is currently laying, I need to get some work at least out of the both of them!
Farbjorn built a solid new chicken ramp up to their house, as when we moved the old house to its new location, the old ramp simply crumbled away; I'd made it of fairly thin plywood almost ten years ago, so it lasting this long was pretty good. The hope is that before we need to move this house again, the new improved chook house will be built, with a three part modular construction to make moving it a LOT easier. The current house is terribly heavy with the actual tarpaper and shingle roof attached. Their future house is meant to have a nice translucent corrugated roof of polycarbonate that will latch into place, and a separate raised base that their house will latch to, if all goes according to plan.
※※※

Another really fun activity was that young E called ahead and said that she wanted to try out block printing. As one of the "aunties" I am just delighted to be able to share some handicraft time, particularly since L decided she also wanted to try...

By the end of the afternoon, they both had successfully completed a 44 inch strip of printed trim; the intention is that some of the new SCA underdresses for this summers camping season will be decorated with their own work. I am as pleased as they are, and the idea that we include some kind of craft project in future visits was greeted with great enthusiasm! 
I set them up with some ironed strips of the same shot cotton I use for making trim, and my assorted already carved trim stamps. I've not really done much handicraft with youngsters, and was impressed with how much they were able to do.

Thora was really good at encouraging L, who is just a bit younger and found it a little difficult to line the tiny stamps up. There really is a lot of hand eye coordination involved! I realised that the eraser end of a pencil makes a good roundel shaped stamp, which both girls took advantage of,. and which I am adding to my drawer of wee stamps for future use.
※※※

Lest the adults feel left out, the sheepskin border on Thora's hat is almost completed. This odd fragment of beautiful fur is unusually tough, so it took quite a bit of effort to sew.

Rather than wear my hands out with the stitching, I did just enough to ascertain that the concept of stitching on edge partially inside the hat, and wrapping it over to the outside as a wide border, was going to work just as I hoped, creating a kind of furry "gasket" around the edge of the hat, which will make it delightfully toasty warm and snug when worn.

Once the fur border is stitched in place, the only remaining part of this project will be to fabricate a tiny metal "hat cone" to enclose and decorate the very top center of the hat, where all five of the embroidered panels come together. Should be done in time for when we start up our outdoor activities in May...
※※※

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 salted lemons turtleneck re-edgedbag to Goodwill
2 Noro shawlette sweater button repair-
3 new chook ramp gown neckline repair -
4 - cuff embroidery -
5 -moved chook yard -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
※※※

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

wishful Wednesday - N.E.D.?


in which our plucky heroine struggles to maintain equanimity

it is always a worry and a niggling fear. there is never trust. Will there be a future me? for the last five years since cancer leapt from maybe to yes, I don't plan well any more. I don't behave as if I believed in future me. Now for the second time since then, a call that says: abnormal cells. In my center is the opposite feeling from how it felt with G, to know I was loved. Then there was a warm brightness in my middle, like a tiny radiant star. This feels more like a dead zone, a cold heaviness that continually creeps up into my eyes, forcing moisture out. About a year after my treatment, the every three month paps found abnormal cells, but it turned out to be a common viral infection, that eventually my body overcame, and it went dormant. After three years, the protocol is only one pap per year, and indeed, my oncologist said last week at my five year checkup, that everything looked good and we didn't even need to do them any more. Glad that I pushed for the testing. Not glad to get the phone call on Monday. it is always a worry and a niggling fear. there is never trust.

So, today was a long bus ride out to the westside cancer center, for a more intensive exam and more tests, because that is where Dr M is located, only coming to the eastside center one day a month. And waiting until March seemed less than ideal. Things were running late at the oncology office, because reasons. So I was almost an hour late being seen. It seems that the abnormal cells they found were of a kind that should not be in my ladybits. So more swabbity samples taken, of several sorts, and then the colposcopy exam done with vinegar and with iodine, and then several sites were biopsied... And the biopsy part of the exam took a while to do, because Dr M is good and used local anasethesia, which helped during that part of the procedure. But on the hour and a half transit journey home again, it wore off, and I am really hurting down below now.

I have another appointment in ten days, to go over the test results. Am doing my best to try and regain equanimity and humor, both of which seem to have flown away... but for now, sleep and a hot pad will be my next step. These words I wrote five years ago somehow still seem relevant

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

3rd times the charm



in which our plucky heroine mixes the grape and the grain; or why did I think that crochet was hard?...

I am a knitter, and not a crocheter, (though I am for certain quite crochety). Nonetheless, when I finally finished the Noro shawlette, it was obvious that the inner edge really needed something to firm it up. Rather than add an i-cord border, since there was surely not enough left of my very precious Noro for that edging, but enough that a cautious single crochet edge could be eked out. Surprisingly, there were a few crochet hooks in the knitting needle drawers, and it was actually quite tidy and simple to add border, once the magic of YouTube reminded me of how to form the stitches.
While I do like the feather and fan lace pattern better than this simple eyelet stripe, I just didn't have the bandwidth to combine the heart-curve-shaping with the feather-and-fan patterning... and in this case, done is better than perfect.
※※※

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 salted lemons turtleneck re-edged-
2 Noro shawlette sweater button repair-
3 - gown neckline repair -
4 - cuff embroidery -
5 -- -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
※※※

Sunday, February 12, 2017

salt and lemons


in which our plucky heroine preserves some abundance against future dearth...

Lemons do not grow here, not now, not without a hothouse. The kindliness of my friends provided me with a few more lemons than I ended up turning into juice for tea while I was ill, and rather than marmalade, said golden orbs are now started on their way to becoming a seasoning condiment. I was reminded to do this by the current monthly Mastery Challenge over on Food In Jars, which is "salt preserving"
As with any citrus preserving, if you are going to eat the outsides, you really do want to use organic to start with.. This preserve could not be easier: wash the lemons, cut a thin slice of the nubby top and bottom, cut partway through in at least four places around the sides (as if cutting into quarters... then pack the cuts with salt, and place in a jar that already has a layer of salt on the bottom.

Continue the process, filling the jar as snugly as possible with the salt encrusted lemons, then top up with some fresh squeezed juice and a good scattering of additional salt and close the jar. This can sit out on the countertop, as the salt and acidity gradually allow the lemons to soften as they pickle in their own juices.

Eventually the lemon rinds take on a unique tang, and can be sliced or chopped into other dishes to add a particular savor. I am fond of adding a little bit to a batch of rice, along with some fresh herbs, or if in the mood for a more elaborate meal, some Moroccan style chicken with olives and preserved lemons is good. There are many possible uses for salt preserved lemons...
※※※

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 salted lemons turtleneck re-edged-
2 - sweater button repair-
3 - gown neckline repair -
4 - cuff embroidery -
5 -- -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
※※※

Friday, February 10, 2017

make do and mend


in which our plucky heroine improved upon a make-do...

My favorite turtleneck knit top had become "worn to a ravelling" along the cuff edge, so whilst stuck at home, attempting to recover from the turrible rhinovirus, I decided to mend the edges by handstitching on a different stripey knit. Somehow, though, the contrast in scale didn't look quite right*...

... so, with a few snips of scraps and some more hand stitchery (a la Alabama Chanin), the edges now have a bit of extra embellishment, which makes the whole mending job look intentional, and rather a bit happier now.

※※※

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 - turtleneck re-edged-
2 - sweater button repair-
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 -- -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
13 - - -
14 - - -
※※※

* something about the narrowly striped cuffs reminded me of jammie cuffs from when I was a littley-kid, not the look I was intending or expecting. The square black dots OTOH put the mending strictly back in the handmade slow sewing camp...