Friday, December 19, 2014

Friday fabulousity and fragments


in which our plucky heroine begins preparing in earnest for the party on Sunday, which will celebrate my birthday/Saturnalia/Solstice/Green Wood Horse Year. Indeed it is an entire turning of the Great Wheel of the Chinese zodiac from the year of my birth, and great good fortune to have made it this far.

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The bad news is that in reading the recipe for bacon baklava, our plucky heroine read the part that said "9 x 13 rectangular pan" but forgot that all the pans in the house, save the turkey roaster, are smaller than that; the good news is that most of the baking hardware aisle in Fred Meyers was on sale for 50% off today.
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Started baking for Saturnalia by mixing up a batch of savillum... While most recipes I have read call for wheat flour, this variation, made with bulgar wheat instead, was a standard breakfast in our camp during the first years I was active in the SCA; it is easy to make ahead, is really filling, and has a substantial amount of protein... bulgar and ricotta and eggs oh my, plus honey and poppy seeds.

It is much easier than pie, requiring the cook to simply mix all the ingredients together and then bake at 350F until done, about 30 minutes more or less depending on the pan used. Because this is intended as party tidbits rather than hearty breakfast, a thinner layer was desirable, and I lined the baking pan with parchment paper, in the hope of not sticking. As soon as it comes out of the oven, drizzle some honey over the top, spread the honey out across gently, and then dust with poppy seeds. The quantities are not super precise: about 15 to 16 oz ricotta, one or two eggs, a scant cup of honey, and a generous cup of bulgar, with a little more honey and some poppy seeds.
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This is what our plucky heroine found after all the boxes on the front porch were unpacked!

the first box said "Live Plants"... someone (hi Mom!) took it to heart when I mentioned entering my second childhood

The second box contained this very large double wall cooking pot, and rather gave me a clue as to what might be in the other boxes, but no clue as to who the mystery sender might be...

The third box held a green five gallon bucket. I foresee a rearrangement of the SCA/camping closet

The final, and heaviest box contained a Stove-Tec rocket stove, the deluxe model with two doors and a grate that allows for burning either wood or charcoal. Whoo Hoo! Now I can set up a temporary outdoor kitchen (or natural dyeing using my regular dyepots?!) space in the carport and have crafternoon/cookouts!! (and it will be excellent earthquake emergency cooking gear too)
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Just in case anyone is eager to attempt weaving leafy Laurel wreath trim, this is the weaving draft for the just finished project. Found on Guntrum's site, but graphed out in the style of Applesies and Foxnoses - turn forwards except in the parts of the graph with a grey background

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

weaving Wednesday



...in which our plucky heroine completes a project long on the loom...

Last night, finished the Laurel trim, tablet-woven from wool using irregular turning sequence; my second wool tablet weaving (and the final project in the "making things" category of my 2014 Rising 60 SMART goal challenge )
Here is the whole length of the weaving, just about 52 inches long...
... and a closer view of the leafy Laurel motif; am quite happy with how using lighter and darker green for the leaves gives a slight dimensionality to the design.
edit: Oh my, I just actually looked at my selvedges here, and wondered WTF? for most of the weaving I did the selvedges just turning all in one direction, not back and forth at all, and those are the nice ones seen in the back rows... the selvedge in the front, the ones that look so messy, those I did by NOT turning all in one direction, but by turning along with the rest of the tablets in pattern. Fortunately it is less than a foot of the total band, and will be mostly hidden in the stitching when it is applied. Chalk it up to a learning experience, a good case of compare and contrast, and a reminder to read the gorram weaving draft!

In the most recent bundle of fabric from my friend Claire was a dresslength of wool her mother wove!, in stripes of two shades of green, which will make a warm and pretty Viking Age apron-dress, this trim will hopefully be a suitable embellishment as well as a subtle form of regalia. Am considering hand sewing the dress, as a way to honor the handwoven character of the fabric ... but that is a project for 2015.

The next two weeks, in addition to both regular work and holiday preparations, not to mention the upcoming "start your sewing machines" beginning of SWAP 2015 on Boxing Day, I need to find eight, at least six, more "fix all the things" projects that can realistically be done with the time and resources currently available. I REALLY want to complete all three categories of my year-long challenge.
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December SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 red-dyed wool,
from pokeberries
hem and new pockets
on Stacey dress
*
2 grey slip-dress * *
3 two kitty face
needlebooks
* *
4 acorn ornament * ----------
5 four more kitty
needlebooks
* ----------
6 sekrit santa gift * ----------
7 looper potholder * ----------
8 wool Laurel
cardweaving
* ----------
9 ---------- * ----------
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Monday, December 15, 2014

loop de loop


in which our plucky heroine revisits childhood, indeed there are those who think she never left there in the first place...

When my pal Marya showed up at our table at Yulenage a' Trois (Tri-Barony Yule Feast) with one of these iconic woven objects, and said that this was an activity in the children's room, I lost no time in following her back there. One of my earliest weaving memories is of loopers on a square loom, and there was a whole table of loops and an assortment of looms, and several other adults as well as youngsters enjoying the simple pleasure. Illaria had brought bags full of loops she cut from clean singleton or worn socks, so there was quite a variety of colors to pick from; my potholder has all the colors to match my kitchen. 
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Finished the sekrit santa project but cannot post photos, since it is, well, sekrit...
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There is very little in the way of hard alcohol that I find particularly enjoyable straight up, preferring my booze as an ingredient rather than a beverage, and apparently I am not the only one that feels this way:

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December SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 red-dyed wool,
from pokeberries
hem and new pockets
on Stacey dress
*
2 grey slip-dress * *
3 two kitty face
needlebooks
* *
4 acorn ornament * ----------
5 four more kitty
needlebooks
* ----------
6 sekrit santa gift * ----------
7 looper potholder * ----------
8 * * ----------
9 ---------- * ----------
:::

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday snippets


... in which our plucky heroine attempts to both catch up on missed sleep and increase forward momentum, as there is just a wee bit more than two weeks to complete my SMART goals challenge...
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This time of year fresh seasonal grapefruit begins to appear in the markets. I particularly like the ones that are all rosy on the outside and red on the inside...
My food album looks as if most of what I do in the kitchen is play with citrus peelings. This is grapefruit peel; so photogenic with the light behind it! I find that if it is blanched thrice, it isn't necessary to cut away the thick white parts, which eventually turn to beautiful translucent bittersweet candy that I love far more than chocolate...
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My SCA heraldic device change passed, it now reflects my personal symbolism more precisely. The running horse that is the main charge on my arms has been a personal icon for decades, the acorn with oak leaves for almost as long. My life consists of moving forward while remaining cognizant of the past, both personally and in my artistry. Regarding the acorn ...
"The oak sleeps in the acorn ... Dreams are the seedlings of realities."
- James Allen
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for some reason this photo reminds me of the charts we made back in high school biology class about inherited traits, when we were studying genetics... but instead it is four more kitty face needlebooks, ready to go to their forever homes. The grey cat is also going to get a companion tape measure case: a mouse with the tail being the tape measure. That will be a treat to design and make!
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Am attempting to allow playtime to occur as it will (when not interrupting time-bound activities), and today some time spent just fooling around with felt and floss...

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December SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 red-dyed wool,
from pokeberries
hem and new pockets
on Stacey dress
*
2 grey slip-dress * *
3 two kitty face
needlebooks
* *
4 acorn ornament * ----------
5 four more kitty
needlebooks
* ----------
6 * * ----------
7 * * ----------
8 * * ----------
9 ---------- * ----------
:::

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday fragments


First two of the kitty-face needle books are completed and will be are on the way to their forever home today. I made it to the post office just before they were closing for the evening.

They do look quite dapper, particularly after a trip to the ironing board, which smooths all the stitching out, rather like blocking knitwear. Using wool or wool/rayon felt makes all the difference, both in making them up and in how they feel, rather like the difference between butter and margarine. These are "gourmet" needlebooks... I am looking forward to making a portrait needlebook for my neighbor Molly; will be visiting her soon to meet her cat.
:::
Decided after dinner to make a rather speedy acorn and oak leaf ornament, using free machine embroidery on three layers of wool felt. Because sometimes it is necessary to just play with the materials, rather than the usual highly specific and controlled artistry. Sometimes it becomes really transparent that I don't play enough. Not sure how to shift that, or to encourage self to move in that direction, without it becoming yet another task...

:::

December SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 red-dyed wool,
from pokeberries
hem and new pockets
on Stacey dress
*
2 grey slip-dress * *
3 two kitty face
needlebooks
* *
4 acorn ornament * ----------
5 * * ----------
6 * * ----------
7 * * ----------
8 * * ----------
9 ---------- * ----------
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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Throwback Thursday and other tidbits...


... in which you see our plucky heroine (in the back) and her little sister picking berries by the side of the road....

Whilst sorting through random papers, found a travel journal from when I was seven, from an iconic family trip to New Brunswick. Along with pieces of seaweed, and my lost tooth, both stuck to the fragile manila paper with Scotch tape, were three square photographs. One of us dwarfed by rock formations at Hopewell Cape, one of a house on fire, and this charming image. Shall have to acquire some safe clear envelopes to put these in, as I have very vivid memories of that trip, and this is memorabilia to be saved. We spent a number of days camping and attending the New Brunswick School of Craft, where my father did wood-turning, my mother did enameling on copper, and I made baskets. Though the baskets and the enameled horse are long lost in the mists of time, the bowl and platter, turned from birdseye maple, remain treasured possessions. That trip was the first time I knew that enamels were made by real people, not just part of machinery and vehicles.
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Apparently the intrepid Ruth, Peter and Tom are at it again! How did I find out, but by reading the blog Hibernaatiopesäke where Mervi (famed for "Applesies and Foxnoses") wrote about a trip from Finland to England to help sew the clothing for the BBC series "Secrets of the Castle"...
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Years ago when preparing to graduate college, with no desire to pay money to rent a "cap and gown" made from green polyester (which seemed the very antithesis of both my ethics and lifestyle) our plucky heroine stitched up a tunic in gemlike colors, but mostly green printed rayon, and wore that over a black skirt? instead. Over the years, the tunic became part of a summer dress, which then ended up (where else) but in the stash of bits and bobs that fill far too much of the sewing space. While hunting for slip-dress ingredients, it came to light, and surely, with only a bit of adaptation, can easily take on a third life as a slip-dress, all that is needed is to cut away and bind the armscye and neckline. Nothing is wasted here...
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Woke up this morning with a Very Scratchy Throat, which has been hanging around for several days now, despite topical applications of Lemon, Honey, and Echinacea tea. Early bedtime might be in order. Have kept busy stitching away at kitty face needlebooks; currently have orders for six different ones, which will be a nice addition to the holiday season budget. They are such fun to make, and their new owners always seem to appreciate the useful whimsey! Fortunately, this is work that can be done in bits and pieces, as the fighting off being ill for the last several days had limited my stamina and focus.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tuesday tidbits


...in which our plucky heroine looks at treasure found and treasure created...

Found at the local Goodwill: this very large handmade and handpainted ceramic jar with a lid, in perfect condition... it will be a Useful Pot of Holding in the kitchen here. The name scribed under the base appears to be Booth, but there no useful way to look up "ceramic artist Booth" on Google to find out more about the potter...
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Now have orders for five kitty face needlebooks, and they are currently being stitched up. While I miss my knitting, with Solitary Foxen patiently awaiting my return, the extra holiday dosh will be quite welcome. Plus the needlebooks are fun to make, being quicker than most of the creative endeavors hearabouts...
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Progress report on the 6PAC slip dress: The original dress has had all extraneous parts cut away. After binding the new lowered neckline and enlarged armscye with bias made from the sleeve fabric, the prepared hem band, and bias strips made from the central black fabric, are stitched together along the hemline, to create the bottom embellished edge, which will be clean-finished on both sides.

It is a three layer sandwich, which I always have to think over carefully each time I use this technique. With the wrong sides of the dress and the hem band facing each other, and the right sides of the bias and the hem band facing each other, the whole thing is being stitched together along the raw edge...
Then that gets pressed with the hem band at the bottom and the bias turned up against the body of the dress. Once the bias is then folded over once more to cover the raw edge, it is topstitched at both the top folded edge and the bottom just above the seamline, to give the look of a stitched band of bias trim. A sketch or diagram kept in my sewing notebook would make it easier the next time this technique is wanted...

From the front, the hem band has a bound top edge that encloses all the raw edges; from the back, the pintuck darts that shaped the hem band are visible, but the joining seam is under the topstitching on the right side.
...
front of hem band  -  back of hem band

Back in the 80's, sets of matching china silk tops and either skirts or pants, were popular for a while... not terribly practical as daywear, being that china silk is comparatively flimsy, they often made their way to the thrift stores. The taupe silk skirt, a faint memory that had ended up in one of the yet to be disbursed bags of sewing detritus, had probably been in my stash for decades. Adding a layer of thin silk underneath the skirt of the slip-dress will make it warmer without adding much weight. This will slow slowed down the completion of the project, but not by much... First stitched in upside down at the waist, and then folded over and stitched again to enclose and strengthen the raw edge.

The completed slip dress; which will mostly only ever have the lower four or five inches visible, but will add greatly to my wintertime comfort

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December SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 red-dyed wool,
from pokeberries
hem and new pockets
on Stacey dress
*
2 grey slip-dress * *
3 * * *
4 * * ----------
5 * * ----------
6 * * ----------
7 * * ----------
8 * * ----------
9 ---------- * ----------
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