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 ---------- * ----------
:::

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tuesday trinkets


in which our plucky heroine decides that it is time to be consider being a little more active in the "things made" section... (the other categories are closer to where they "should" be for this far into the year) wondering how many things I can make in what is left of this month


At least one project is completed, the embroidered wooly ponies, that look a lot like Fjord horses... This large patch was originally intended to be decoration on a new SCA wool apron-dress, until I realised that the one I already have is very rarely worn, since there are few SCA events cold enough to warrant layers of wool. Instead, my current idea is to use it to decorate a new everyday wool winter pinafore, as that way I can enjoy the embroidery fairly often. The dress length of wool, off black and cream, will make a comfortable versatile pinafore, though it is indeed jarring to be thinking about wool and warmth in the heat of the summertime!
:::

When my Blue Cedar friends showed up this past weekend, Mr R had a little gizmo that he wasn't using, that he very rightly thought I would enjoy, and kindly gifted to me. Now a useful addition to my keychain, it cleverly unfolds to become a small set of pliers, and a regular and phillips screwdriver. This fills a very needful niche on my EDC keyring, since I had to choose between pliers and scissors for my Leatherman micra (and I unsurprisingly chose scissors); now I have both!
.
:::

The only good thing about the necessary medical socks of unbearable squeeziness, which are utterly horrid to wear in the summertime, is that when soaked with cold water, they do take a bit of time to dry out, which creates a bit of swamp cooler effect on the legs, which is helpful when the external temperature approaches the internal...
:::

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wooly pony embroidery paper wasp nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 * 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 *
7 * broken toilet seat replaced ----------
8 * * ----------
9 * * ----------
10 ---------- * ----------
:::

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fragments and figments


IN which our plucky heroine makes progress...

The moon is waxing, and sometimes the night cools down enough that riding my bike is a treat, in the way that makes me feel like I am a happy child again, and all the stress of being an elder falls away for a few moments... I am so grateful that life allows me these small pleasures
:::

The folks from Blue Cedar House are coming came to visit for the weekend; the plan being that sewing of Viking Age clothing will be a good trade for yardwork and honey-do help. This will be excellent - hopefully they decide that they love the SCA, as this is just the sort of skill trade that will improve the lives of both our households.

Saturday morning Mr R started on the project of installing a new sink in the bathroom, as well as filling the holes in the wall, so that the cold winter breezes will not zoom out into the house. Whatever the formers owners were good at, house repair and remodeling were not part of their skill set... His lovely wife, my friend M, made a valiant and successful foray against the weeds and grass in the north side yard, the pathway to the backyard, which has not been loved in a number of years... we are finding all sorts of surprising artifacts, most of them only fit for the transfer station. For now, until there is an actual plan for this space, the sword ferns can stay...


The bathroom sink zone is starting to be filled in with painted plywood... the upper panel will be screwed in place, and then molding set around to cover the edge gaps; the plywood also needs some sponge painting to match is more accurately to the color of the painted bathroom walls. Once the mirror is also re-installed, and the sink also re-attached, the bathroom will be in much better shape! (the new sink and faucet have been sitting in a box in the bathroom for the last two+ years, and I put in the temporary sink in 2008)

By the time M was ready to call it a day, almost the entire north side yard was cleared...
Saturday evening M and Mr R went off to celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary with a sushi feast, whilst young Heather, both little girls, and I all watched Totoro... The next morning (Sunday) all sorts of additional work happened:

The north side yard was entirely cleared of weeds, save for the volunteer sword ferns. Much easier to walk through, and to hang clothing on the clothesline along the fence. I am not sure what the best thing to do with this space... there is a concrete pathway down the middle, with gravel on either side.
The "fence" side does get sunlight, and there are a few planter boxes there, which could/will get some added compost and hopefully some winter greens planted. But the "house" side gets little or no sunlight, and while it does grow weedy grasses, I don't think it would get enough sun for vegetables So far the best idea I have come up with is to allow Future Chickens to occasionally dig through the area, to keep the weeds from getting as deep a foothold. Advice welcome... (I am not particularly interested in gardening for it's own sake... aside from some food plantings and possibly some flowers for cut flowers)

The new sink is installed, and the bathroom feels very different, there is no huge cardboard box taking up floor space, and the rounded curves of the porcelain fit the style room a lot better, as well as just physically being smaller than the former sink with the rectangular wooden framework.

The old sink and faucet went back to the Rebuilding Center,(along with the assorted window screens that turned up in the side yard), (though I did keep the extra-strong angle brackets, as those will be most handy for supporting the future standing workbench) We are still having some small issues with fitting together the new sink faucet and the old pipe fittings, but I am watching it for leakage, as it seems like the cold water line fittings are not entirely sealed... our plucky heroine is hoping that if needed a bit of disassembley and some judicious re-pipe-taping will take care of any problems...


The amount of work that was accomplished this weekend is just astounding! There was enough time to also make a start on the south side yard, and this huge clump of vegetation was removed from the side yard bed. The compost bin is full, the yard waste bin is full, and there are two paper compost sacks also full. This pile of additional yard debris will need to wait it's turn...


The parking strip got some love today... my friends decided to clear away all the weeds that were filling the planter box and all around the persimmon tree, rebuilt the bricks around the tree that had been kicked down, and then mulched the whole thing. I can now add some plantings back into the box, and eventually there may will be a second planter box on the other side of the tree...
:::

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 * paper wasp nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 * 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 *
7 * broken toilet seat replaced ----------
8 * * ----------
9 * * ----------
10 ---------- * ----------
:::

Thursday, August 7, 2014

not with a ten foot pole


In which our plucky heroine knows in truth that discretion is the better part of valor...

So Tuesday some mighty helpful brave friends Marya and Larry came over after dark to do battle with the wasp nest that had prevented me from accessing the garden shed, well actually the entire back yard. Don't judge me - it is necessary, because allergies, and when the pears and plums and applesies are ready, there will be fruit for me and friends and not wasp food.

Early in the cool of the morning, went to check on the wasps... the visible nest was obviously dead, but rather than get close enough to move the plastic tote, I used a fifteen foot pole, and a good thing too! since there is ANOTHER live active nest with plenty of LIVE WASPS in there!! Now I need to ask for yet more help! (because more live wasps in a nest, in a box, in my yard, oh gorram!) I used the long pole to push the tote off from the top of the tomato cage it was sitting on, so I could throw it away, and lo and behold, there was another nest inside the box, where the original nest had probably been started, and it was covered with live wasps!

I was soooo glad that Marya and Larry had sprayed the nest last night, and I am soooo glad I was cautious, and I am sooo glad neither of them were stung last night; I hated having to ask yet again for help... asking for help seems to be an ongoing lesson: how to it well, having to do it again and again; in truth, the being self sufficient is one side of the hand, and the being interdependent is the other side. I do as much as I can for myself, learn and practice assorted skills of useful functionality (which I happily share) but there are times when all that our plucky heroine can do is just not enough, and being able to ask for help and receive it with grateful thanks is yet another useful functional skill, and probably the one real new lesson from my cancer journey. When I let go of feeling bad about the need to ask for help, then I will have really learned the lesson for good and for true. We all do better helping and being helped. While specialization may be for insects, cooperation is for humans...

Good things today: no one being stung by wasps, having someone hold the Max by standing in the doorway because they saw me scampering (hobbling) over trying to catch the Red Line, having a friend send me the pdf's for the old PicDic so I can have hardcopy, and knowing that my personal Big Damn Heroes came back to kill the rest of the wasp nest...

:::

Wooly pony progress... I love the texture that is created with Bayeaux Tapestry fill stitches. Am also curiously fascinated at the way the wool which was originally dyed yellow with dock is faded to a golden tan, without being exposed to sunlight, am wondering if it is some sort of oxidation process? It is a lovely soft color for the design, and I had actually forgotten what the original color was until I went and looked at the initial photo from earlier this summer... (rightmost yarn)

:::

August SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 * wasps nest destroyed fabric to Goodwill
2 * 2nd wasp nest *
3 * * *
4 * * *
5 * * *
6 * * *
7 * * ----------
8 * * ----------
9 * * ----------
10 ---------- * ----------
:::

Monday, August 4, 2014

sewing for my modern life...


IN which our plucky heroine smacks into the fact that ignoring a problem does not make it go away...

Back in June, I looked at the extent of my modern clothing... since my ongoing goal is to have enough everyday clothing to go for a week without running a load of laundry (so eight "sets" of clothing would be both functional and generous) I am not there by any means, and a chart of the extent of my wardrobe makes that clear:

# TEE SHIRTS KNIT TOPS BLOUSES DRESSES PINAFORES POPOVERS SLIPS & APRONSPANTS
1 grey cave horse indigo/black layered blue/multi hawaiian cornflower ikat medium denim indigo nightsky batik black knit embroidered slip cropped black knit
2 bad girl black black bleach print black print lawn black/grey polkadot black lovechild overall jordan almond leafy * *
3 grey floral
neckline
black/grey crow * blue/grey ikat black linen cobalt linen * *
4 bang said max black/grey stripey t-neck * brown Japanese dogs black vertical pique blue microcheck linen * *
5 blue stripey cloud black/white winter t-neck * * grey corduroy * * *
6 dk blue leopard black plain * * dk grey linen * * *
7 brown acorn brown Celtic wolf * * brown corduroy * * *
8 black square lace grey zip neck * * grey chambray * * *
bold is wearing out - italic rarely gets worn - lingerie, socks and shoes are not on the chart

Though the Autumn 6PAC has started, it looks like some popover dresses would be the best start to my modern sewing, as true summer has at least a month or more to run, and they also work well as overdresses once the weather cools down (which cannot be too soon for this girl). This means looking through stash for light floaty summer fabrics...  For autumn, must needs make some dresses, and possibly a few slip/dresses, as I am down to only two dresses in good condition. I don't really need any new pinafores, though will both plan on making two later this winter, and will keep eyes open for a nice dark indigo blue fabric, since the only denim in my stash is too "medium" Somewhere in there, before the rainy season returns, need to either get moving on the V1212 bodice/sleeve combo, or choose to make a different sort of raincoat.
:::