Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday fragments


Melanzane al Funghetto, garnished with thin slices of goat feta
Our plucky heroine is busy today getting ready for not only an open studio day on Saturday, but the return of some of my Blue Cedar house pals for the long weekend...

Earlier this week, New Seasons had (most unusually) some organic japanese eggplant... since the plan was for small steaks as dinner, I decided that a side dish of Melanzane al Funghetto (Eggplant Mushroom-style) would be both seasonal and appropriate. When the ingredients are excellent, this dish never fails to be a treat, as long as you are in the subset that enjoys these nightshade fruit, and since both Karen and Gwen are of that tribe, it was most well received!

Tuesday there were some local rambles as well as the beachcombing that started my day so delightfully. Gwen wanted to visit the little local shop that makes taffy and handcrafted chocolates. While I am not much of one for either of those comestibles, I found the display of vintage confectioners tools to be fascinating, including these candy rollers used to form and shape sweets...


While we were wandering around Lincoln City, we ate lunch at McMenamins Lighthouse Brewpub, and a Goodwill beckoned from across the parking lot... My clever eye spotted an All-Clad LTD skillet in among the kitchen gear; $6.99 seemed a reasonable price to try out a renowned brand (a new pan this size usually sells for rather considerably more). After cooking with it last night, the skillet will definitely be a good addition to the modest array of cookware that lives on the forged iron pot-rack in the kitchen of Acorn Cottage, being both highly functional, easy to clean, and a good inbetween size
:::

So far August has not been a month of making new things, but am hopeful that by the end of September all three categories will be caught up, realising that it may will be necessary to curtail my online hours in favor of time spent behind the sewing machine and in front of the workbench...
:::

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wooly pony embroidery paper wasp nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 third Orb enamel 2nd wasp nest destroyed bag to Goodwill
3 Pegasus embroidery parking strip planter improved yard waste bin
4 * north side yard cleared yard waste bags
5 * bathroom sink attached Rebuilding Center
6 * bathroom wall repaired paper to Shredfest
7 * broken toilet seat replaced bag to Goodwill
8 * towel holder attached bag to Goodwill
9 * SCA closet reorganised ----------
10 ---------- * ----------

Thursday, August 28, 2014

seashore snippets


in which our plucky heroine visits the coast for the first time in several years...

the view out the windows in the morning...

down the hill to the beach, drifts of crocosmia have naturalised in the open spaces and along the verge

After clambering down from the end of road across some rocks, there was still quite a bit of beachfront to traverse
.
I find the patterns left by the waves to be endlessly fascinating

proof positive that our plucky heroine made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean

Look between the beach boulders to the open ocean beyond; when we first arrived this area was entirely underwater, the second morning the tide was far enough out that this channel between the rocks was visible...

There were good reasons besides sensible caution to not walk the narrow channel between the rocks...Sea anemones almost as big as my hands! they are so very turquoise green!!

waterlife clings to the rocks, not as a parable, but just as itself

I am congenitally incapable of not picking up rocks at the beach. There are agates and jasper, and all sorts of other fascinating treasures. My old denim pinafore soon resembled a child's garment: pockets stuffed with pebbles and shell fragments...

the sun sets through the oncoming fog bank as we say goodnight to a day of rare delight...

:::

I am grateful for coastal breezes that are a respite from the August heat, for the scent of ocean air and the sound of wavesong, and the chance to ramble about beachcombing. Am grateful the body still allows me to go out and about, up and downhill, and to still climb over small rockpiles (also grateful for the generosity that made this possible)
may this gratitude contradict despair...

Monday, August 25, 2014

La La La Lola


in which our plucky heroine gets some new socks...

Having found Sockwell compression socks, which are not only a more comfortable blend of wool and bamboo added to the extreme squeeziness of the nylon and spandex, but which also come in pleasant, non-medical patterns, the lifelong necessity is somewhat ameliorated. That some of their designs can be purchased at REI adds my customer discount into the equation, so I headed out downtown, and came home with two pair. One was this rainbow stripe woman's pair, but the other was this grey on black man's pair. Yes, they are actually exactly the same size, and that gives me either more colorful or more decorous legs this autumn...

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wooly pony embroidery paper wasp nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 third Orb enamel 2nd wasp nest destroyed bag to Goodwill
3 * parking strip planter improved yard waste bin
4 * north side yard cleared yard waste bags
5 * bathroom sink attached Rebuilding Center
6 * bathroom wall repaired paper to Shredfest
7 * broken toilet seat replaced bag to Goodwill
8 * towel holder attached bag to Goodwill
9 * SCA closet reorganised ----------
10 ---------- * ----------
:::


Saturday, August 23, 2014

substantial Saturday snippets


in which our plucky heroine moves forward the plan to transform the odd closet between the living room and the furnace room into tidy storage. It has been the box-room, full of the greatest number of randomly filled containers and bags, but will hopefully become a good space to keep my SCA and camping gear...

Friday night's task was to empty said closet... Finding a lot of non-SCA random things in there, that have just been tossed somewhere "out of the way". After two hours of removing the clobber and crap, the closet is a blank slate

Saturday morning my friend Kate arrived to work her organising magic on my space. Having the closet entirely clear made it easier to successfully arrange the things that need to be in that space, but boy howdy - my poor living room looks a lot like the intake zone of the local Goodwill. Everything from that closet is now in the living room, all 20+ boxes, and bags of stuff, and random artifacts, plus all  my camping gear and some of my SCA clothing. It is beyond a hot mess, it is almost cold fusion...

The far end of the closet has a few two shelves, which are now holding some of my camping gear and SCA clothing, the rest of it is either up above (for the soft lightweight bedding) or folded atop the small camping table, which holds the tent, the straw matting, and some assorted textile bits. Paracord, and decorated bags holding camping notions hang on one side of the wall. I am thinking that a laminated packing list would be a good addition, so I don't need to print one out before each event, rather like a master grocery shopping list...

The closet is now very easy to use, everything in there is intentional. The rooms that the 20+ boxes and bags have moved to are really frightening. I keep telling myself to be patient and persistent...

A set of narrow shelves still needs to be made, to hold housepaint, as all the cans will be also be moving into this space, along with the painting tools. I use housepaint rarely, so this is a better storage place than the workroom, and they can be stored neatly along one wall, once there are purpose-built shelves.
:::

...whilst removing ALL THE THINGS from the closet, this Damascus knife blank showed up underneath a pile of boxes on the upper shelf. This is a keeper for sure, look how tiny it is!! All I can think is that I swapped for it at some trade blanket years ago, but since it is already drilled for handle rivets, I can easily finish it and it will be both beautiful and useful.

:::

Someday my house will be set up so that all the things, supplies and tools will be accessible and the surroundings will be beautiful. After this particular day of decluttering I am really noticing how very much stuff I have all over the house, and how not all of it makes me happy, in fact a lot of it makes me unhappy or stressed. I just need to keep telling myself that in time it will all improve. This is, for me, part of a massive reorganisation of house functionality, after several years of post-cancer neglect. My intention is to give visible structure and support to my intention to continue living
:::

I am getting ready to teach a short workshop on Surface Couching, and the Bayeaux Tapestry Stitch. Those are two very basic and historical embroidery stitches and with both of them together, you can make a design by outlining it, and by filling in the outline if desired; the techniques are very similar. I figure that a one page handout, and some felt, floss, and a needle will allow students to try it out for themselves.

After gallivanting all over the place Friday trying to find large-ish embroidery needles (big eyes and sharp points, not tapestry needles with dull points) and finding none in all the nearby sewing and crafty stores... (didn't have time to hit the big ones aka Fabric Depot and Mill Ends) I checked in Fred Meyers of all places and they had them in their TINY sewing notions section... not super good quality (Singer brand now gets their kit from China and the lowest bidder, apparently) but at least useable... Further consultation with my more embroidery knowledgeable friends gave me the information that the actual name of what I was looking for was "chenille needles"
:::

Pears! from the backyard! There are actually twenty pears of various sizes on my little Bartlett tree, and as some have been falling from the branches, I have been checking and picking the ones that separate freely. They are all going into the fridge, as they may be buggy. The largest one so far weighs 8 oz! This is the exciting first harvest of the pears since the tree was planted in the spring of 2009...

:::

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wooly pony embroidery paper wasp nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 third Orb enamel 2nd wasp nest destroyed bag to Goodwill
3 * parking strip planter improved yard waste bin
4 * north side yard cleared yard waste bags
5 * bathroom sink attached Rebuilding Center
6 * bathroom wall repaired paper to Shredfest
7 * broken toilet seat replaced ----------
8 * towel holder attached ----------
9 * SCA closet reorganised ----------
10 ---------- * ----------
:::

I am grateful for running water, both in the natural world, where water running over rocks makes one of the most delightful sounds I know, and the sort that comes into our homes and out through the various taps and spigots installed. Water safe to drink, safe to cook with... Anyone, including our plucky heroine, who has lived without running water, is always grateful for and never takes it for granted.

I spent the better part of a year in a place with no water on site; where all water had to be brought in in 5 gallon buckets from the next town over, carried in on sledges in the winter and in the back of a car the rest of the year. I learned to be very sparing in how I used it. Living here is eversomuch easier that that year was
May this gratitude contradict despair

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

tiny Tuesday tidbits


in which our plucky heroine is not really sure what is up with the falling asleep every afternoon, other than it is gorram hot out. Maybe the siesta is a worthy custom, even if out of phase with this modern life...

Another glimpse of the embroidered yoke panels I am working on for K. Just starting on the pale green fill for the maidenhair ferns; not sure if it will also want a lighter strand down the center of the "stems"  (on consultation with K, she likes the foliage just as it is, and I rather concur, since real maidenhair ferns have dark stems...)

It is rather astonishing how very many hours go into even a quite simple embroidery like this one, (over 26 so far) which makes historic embroidered garments and objects even more precious to my point of view, thinking about how much of someone's life went into creating that ephermeal beauty, most of which is lost to us
~ ::: ~

For the last week there has been no progress the only progress at all on my SMART goals has been continued various sorts of playing with string (knitting, weaving, and embroidery) and nothing to the point of completion. I really need to dig out some appropriate fabric and get busy cutting out some clothing, or I shall go into autumn as a tatterdemalion. One or two light summer dresses would not be amiss, and some basic dresses for layering... I have been toying with the idea of sewing up one or two cardigan sweaters, based on my tee shirt pattern, if (big if) I can find suitable fabric... such lightweight layers would be most useful in transitional weather
~ ::: ~

Today I am grateful for the generosity of friends, who have in the last week given me a set of folding sewing tables, some replacement lavender oil, some lovely blue yarn, and time out of their busy lives to spend with me.

May this gratitude contradict despair...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

two and a half day trip...


in which our plucky heroine travels north for felicitatious wishes on the natal day of a friend, bringing the traveling enamel kiln Calcifer* along with...

There is something very special about the house where my artist friends live, where even the canoe paddles are a thing of beauty...

The enameling got off to a late start, on Saturday afternoon, so while none of the three interested folks completed their pieces, they all made a good start on their designs

As often happens, there was a chance to do some lampwork, and Vesta made her first beads, with the helpful input of the talented birthday girl
~ ::: ~

Last weekend, when the Blue Cedar folks were visiting, Mindy had this very clever Japanese garden tool, a sort of hand pickaxe, with a forged head and a hardwood handle. Whilst up in OlyWa, Maeve took me over to the Westside Coop where I found the selfsame tool for sale in their nifty garden center, and I couldn't resist acquiring one of my own, using up some of my precious remaining worker member discount points. I am certain it will prove useful around Acorn Cottage, since it does a bangup job at removing weeds from places and digging rooty bits out of the cracks in the pavement.

The Blue Heron Bakery has been a Mud Bay institution for decades, and I was glad to have a chance for one more walk across the bridge and back; soon they will be moving up the hill to a new modern facility closer to the town; it will be the end of an era... Looking up at the hops growing over the outdoor oven I wonder what the future tenants will think of the space here, which holds so many memories of so many folks

~ ::: ~

This weekend I made great strides on an assortment of textile projects, as well as the traveling enameling fun and games:

Continued progress on the coat yoke embroidery that I am working on for K, which features motifs from her personal heraldry. The pegasus is done in straightforward applique and couching.

It was a challenge to figure out how best to transfer and create the detailed maidenhair fern design on such dense thick melton wool fabric. What eventually worked was drawing the design on tracing paper, and couching directly through the paper along the design line, then tearing the paper away. The leaf interiors will be filled with embroidery in a lighter green.
~ ::: ~


just in case you were wondering who/what Calcifer is?...
~ ::: ~

Today I am grateful for the sensation of wind against my face and arms, when I ride my bike to the grocery store. I have a bicycle, I have a body that mostly works, I have enough resources that I can acquire food to eat, and a home to return to.
May this gratitude contradict despair...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

chuck keys in love, well at least is attached...


in which our plucky heroine offers a helpful hint on how not to lose your chuck key:

Take a few hair ties and loop them together, then loop one end in a larks head knot around the key and the other around the cord. It can stretch to reach the chuck, and be out of the way otherwise. Am not sure where I first ran across this idea, but have been doing it for years...

this particular drill actually has an attachment point to hold the chuck key, but it was awkward unsnapping it each time to use, so I made it a leash from the hair ties instead... a little less tidy, but much more convenient and still attached
:::



because every time I say the words "chuck key",  I hear this song in my head...
:::

The bathroom towel holder has been reattached. A start has been made on anchoring the leaning pile of lumber to the wall - there will be some eyebolts on each side of the doorframe, and loops of rope neatly eye-spliced, with clip hooks, for safety anchors. I find that being able to turn plain rope into useful objects has been a helpful skill ever since childhood, not a hobby, as I have enough of those thank you very much, but still very useful. I didn't learn splicing until I was in the SCA, when friends taught me to end splice the tent ropes, which made for a much tidier finish.

working on the third one of the Orb enamels... once these are complete then the next step in the process is for Bill Dawson to build the gem encrusted bands that will surround the Orb and support the demi-lion on the top. These enamels will decorate the attachment points where the silver bands will be anchored to the Orb. Sometimes the work I do is a small part of something pretty incredible.

:::

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wooly pony embroidery paper wasp nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 third Orb enamel 2nd wasp nest destroyed bag to Goodwill
3 * parking strip planter improved yard waste bin
4 * north side yard cleared yard waste bags
5 * bathroom sink attached Rebuilding Center
6 * bathroom wall repaired paper to Shredfest
7 * broken toilet seat replaced ----------
8 * towel holder attached ----------
9 * * ----------
10 ---------- * ----------
:::