Sunday, September 21, 2014

a Sunday bouquet

The only upside, as far as I am concerned, with our very hot summer, is that my black figs are actually ripening. The green ones do ripen, occasionally, but the black figs are my favorites as far as flavor. Next spring I will try air-layering the black fig, so as to have TWO black fig trees, and then plant it in a different spot in the yard, because hey... more yummy figs! It would be great to eventually have enough to dry some for the rest of the year.

Though I have had a moratorium this year on bringing in new fabric, I do make exceptions. In January I found two lengths of black and white handwoven ikat at Goodwill! Almost seven yards (3 of the large pattern and 4 of the jaspe), though only 36 inches wide, but still at what works out to about $1.30 a yard, I am not complaining. My first thought was to use the fabric for something like a tunic or a pair of pants, but those are not favored everyday wear, dresses are...

The challenge was combining the two fabrics in one dress without it looking like the Patchwork Girl of Oz.  (indeed this is a somewhat frequent problem, while I have a LOT of fabric, it turns out that I don't have a lot of  actually have very few dress lengths of fabric. It was not possible to find six single dress lengths. This will make sorting out and culling the stash slightly easier. Slightly.)

After much sketching, the design that seemed appealing was to use the plainer fabric for the body of the dress, and the more highly patterned fabric for sleeves and a hem band, and add in a bit of bias around the neck and above the hem band... to me this has just an echo of the old-timey Old West "theme" this collection seems to be developing, in the pattern on pattern aspect at least.


just when our plucky heroine was feeling all useless and unwanted, this comment from my online friend mrs.eccentric on Stitchers Guild brightened the whole day, nay probably the whole gorram month, in reflected appreciation:

Do you know that every time i do a google search on 'Lagenlook' or "Ivey Abitz" a certain someone always peers out at me from the image results? Yes, it's you Ms. A!!! frankly i think this is the most enchanting aspect of the computer age. I know for me it's very hard to find inspo as my style is so specific and eccentric, as i'm sure is the case for you. You have the added burden of being the inspir-er, and leading all us poor sheep.....we can follow you, but you must take the lead from your own inner light. We wee sheep be rooting for ye

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Saturday snippets

Well that was interesting, in the Chinese curse way; today in the mailbox, another one of those yearly "what will your Social Security benefits be if..." letters that come once a year. I read them, of course, though the numbers in either section are not cheerful. Last year, my income was the same as it was in 1977. No wonder my life seems like a struggle sometimes, in the late seventies that amount of dosh went a lot further! My life now is living proof of the axiom that "we have done so much for so long with so little, that we can now do anything with nothing"...  Not to say that I have "nothing" in my life, I have wonderful family and friends, a house over my head with hot and cold running water and all the accoutrements, and I am alive to enjoy these things!

I have been putting off and putting off sewing myself some new clothes, for reasons of no mojo (and/or because of my own issues about how I look...) This has become an issue itself, since I've a very small wardrobe indeed even in the best of times*. My grey chambray pinafore, and my jordan almond popover dress both suffered grievous wardrobe failure this week, having become so threadbare that they tore apart. Fortunately this happened at home, and not, say, while I was riding on transit, or on my bike halfway to the grocery store.

Therefore our plucky heroine must simply get to filling in those gaps. I've a good selection of cotton dress lengths of fabric, and it looks like the overall theme for this go-round will be stripey, since a lot of them are stripes or ikat of various sorts. My plan for the weekend is to cut out six TNT dresses, and make "project kits" for myself, so that I can get them done with a minimum of fuss. As an incentive to self, have ordered four yards of extra dark overdyed Durango denim - I've long wanted a dark denim pinafore, and replacing my worn denim jacket would be a great thing as well. Seems like the overarching theme of the new wardrobe additions will be vaguely Old Western... with the denim and the woven stripes. In addition I ordered some yarn for the Fox Paws pattern; the colorway will be my usual (darks+taupe/grey+indigo), but adding a subtle turquoise accent, just to be a bit different. Might see about setting one of my sample enamels as a brooch, to go along with the theme... but for now, must get back to the cutting table and start the work!

* My current wardrobe: note areas missing and vital clothing that needs replaced. The ideal is to have enough clothes to wear for a week before laundry must happen; to achieve this, there need to be close to eight dresses (autumn/winter/spring) and eight popovers (summer)

1 grey cave horse indigo/black layered blue/multi hawaiian CORNFLOWER
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
black/grey crow * BLUE/GREY
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 - strikethrough is worn out

Friday, September 19, 2014

all the week long

Look it's a teeny tiny baby rosemary (sidewalk penny for scale) - if it stays alive over the winter and puts down roots, it will become a good addition to the herbs here - my intent is to find it a nice sunny spot to live, and to keep it well pruned so it will not turn into the Giant Rosemary Of Doom! (there was a huge one here when I moved in, of the reach out an poke an eye variety, but it was toooo big, so I gave it away, as I had been told that it was too overgrown to cut back) What I want is a nice modest size one that will be decorative and useful at the same time...

This has been a week of weird weather forecasts... Less than a week ago, we had a "volcanic activity statement", and this week, the weather forecast is for "areas of smoke"! Most assuredly, the smoke from the 36 Pits Wildfire is not doing anyone any good, and the smoke in the air here, though nothing like closer areas, was enough on Sunday to turn the sky an odd color and to leave me with a wheezy sore throat. Nonetheless my most sincere wish is for safety to those fighting the fire and for all the people more directly affected. There are wildfires all over the west this fire season.

Have been sick on an off all week, so not as much as usual accomplished. Discretion being the better part of valor, have decided not to go to Summits Coronet, as staying home and resting seemed like a better smarter idea. My acupuncture treatment today feels like it is helping, as are the sea-bands. Hopefully a few more days will put the inner heroine to rights, but just in case I do have an appointment with my GP next week. In the meantime, my plan for the weekend involves short periods of useful indoor activity, alternating with rest; tomorrow is forecast to be in the low 90's again...

I really wonder how far I walked on a daily basis in years past, when walking was not only a joyful activity but less of a struggle... I took it as a personal challenge when my 80 year old Mom got a pedometer from REI to start walking more. The tiny little thing I got is not even noticeable in my pocket. I did test it out several times to make sure the step count was accurate, and it seems to be...

Well that was interesting, my first day with the new pedometer, and even on a sick day, I walked almost 6,500 steps, which is nowhere near the "recommended" 10,000, but not shabby either. Second pedometer day: total steps = 10,029, or over 3 miles. Not bad considering I still am feeling quite puny. On the other hand, it was relatively cool and pleasantly grey most of yesterday, which helps a lot! Today was hot and sunny, so I suspect that the totals for today will be less...I am enjoying the challenge aspect of having it in my pocket though.

September SMART goal challenge
1 tunic muslin for B carport cleared yardwaste bin
2 gown muslin for M shelves in SCA closet 5 yardwaste bags
3 2nd Pegasus embroidery herb planter improved funky red dresser
4 2 very tiny
Roman enamels
housefront plantings
mulched and weeded
old baby stroller
from garden shed
5 * disassemble and clean
venerable box fan
clay flowerpots
6 * *  4 Goodwill bags
7 * ---------- 2 paper recycling
8 * ---------- 1 paper recycling
9 * ---------- ----------
10 * ---------- ----------
11 * ---------- ----------

Monday, September 15, 2014

cats in the logbook

in which our plucky heroine finds her prejudicial preferences unchanged, as witness these two log entries from Saturday and Sunday...

Captains Log - Stardate19813.4:
The two alien life forms aboard are quite annoyed that only portions of the ship are available to them. Nonetheless, for their own safety and ours, this remains my decision. Our kitchen crew has been careful to prepare their meals at recommended intervals, but they seem little interested in eating. While I cannot explain to them the delay in returning to their home world, I shall do my best to distract them with affection and amusements.

Captains Log - Stardate19814.2:
The two alien life forms attempted to explore the ship while the navigation was off for the night, the evidence was clear in the various objects displaced when our morning crew came on deck. The more timid one approached us this morning with almost the alacrity of the more communicative one, and the kitchen crew promptly provided the morning meal as our manual describes appropriate. Unfortunately, it was necessary to call out the cleaning crew, when the freshly prepared food was unswallowed shortly after breakfast by the more communicative of the aliens.
Truly, I much prefer the company of dogs to the company of cats. Any fourlegged companion, indeed any companion at all, has creaturely needs and requires accommodations to be made by all involved. The ideal is to find accommodations that are in the functional end of the fun to hassle ratio. I hadn't remembered how much cats climb everywhere, and Acorn Cottage is far from cat-proof ! Fortunately no harm was done to either of the two guest "aliens" or to the house, and they went home this afternoon.

Today I am grateful for the generosity of surprise gifts, and the wondrous way that on occasion the exact things we wish for arrive on our doorsteps, sometimes literally and sometimes figuratively. I have been wishing for narrow raised beds tall enough to make gardening a little easier, and today Deb not only dropped the fixings for one on my front porch, but in addition a whole bunch of homegrown garden goodies. And today on my electronic doorstep, a gift from my friend Mary in San Jose: a knitting pattern for the new project that I have been craving the opportunity to try out, one that will teach me some new knitting skills.
may this gratitude contradict despair...

Friday, September 12, 2014

not bedknobs nor broomsticks...

In which artisanry and handicraft combine to create some pretty astonishing results...

Earlier this year our plucky heroine completed the three decorative cloisonné enamels that will be part of the new embellishment and refurbishment for the An Tir Orb of Royal Dominion, a venerable piece of Kingdom* regalia, which Bill Dawson and myself were granted a commission to elaborate and beautify...

←The larger photo shows the completed work...

The two smaller photos below are from earlier in the process showing the Orb partially fitted with the new decorative additions. The first one shows how two of the three upper bands fit between the demi-lion finial and the central band which is set with my enamels at the hinge plates. Still to be added are the lower bands and the supportive base.

The second photo below shows a slightly different view of the Orb, with a clearer view of one of the three different enamels that I made. The silver bands are set with semiprecious stones including Oregon sunstone, and pearl. The new embellishments will truly decorate the Orb in a way that is worthy of our fair Kingdom of An Tir. Bill Dawson is doing some truly impressive work here!


This picture gives an idea of the actual size of this piece of regalia, prior to our efforts...


 I am grateful for the opportunity to help create lasting beauty with the work of my hands, that at least some of the hours of my life will go towards objects that will live on when I am dust in the wind... I joy in the bright world to see the handwork of those who came before me, and take comfort in the thought that with luck, those who come after will see my efforts and wonder...

may this gratitude contradict despair

* The Kingdom of An Tir is the part of the SCA that encompasses most of the Pacific Northwest region

Friday fragments

With autumn, we gather the fruits of our labor, ripening into plump, juicy bursts of sweetness and joy in the sharp briar patch of our lives.
~ Terry Windling

Found on Ravelry the most amazingly beautiful knit flame stitch stripe patterned wrap: Fox Paws... while I am slowly slogging through getting closer to finishing my Flower Power Ponies, am considering actually purchasing the Fox Paws pattern, as it uses some techniques I don't already know, and it would look superb in whole assortment of different colors, in a way reminiscent of Missoni textiles. (turns out that the designer was inspired by Missoni, points to me for recognising it)

I have two temporary house guests this weekend, Figgy and Percy, the Maine Coon cats that usually live with Sharon Rose... Their apartment is being fumigated and they needed a place for the kitties for the weekend. It will be interesting. They are both hiding under the computer table right now.

My intention is to see how much I can accomplish this weekend in the "things made" category, which has been sadly neglected the last few months...

Still feeling less than 100% well, not sure what is going on internally (and of course cancerhead is having a field day with this situation), made an appointment to see my GP in two weeks, because that is what you do...

Yesterday was the first time I have ever seen "volcanic activity statement" at the top of the local weather report warnings list, alongside "wind advisory" and "fire danger warning". Apparently there was a small ash plume from Mt St Helens.

Today I am grateful for public transit, which lets me live in the city without owning an automobile. True it does take a LOT longer to get from point A to point B, and there are definite drawbacks and limitations, but the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. I can get around town on the bus or the Max, and can go between cities on Amtrak or the Bolt bus. This necessity gives my life a different shape than the common one here in the USA, but then, I am familiar with that, since there is a lot in my way of life that is already out at the end of various bell curves...

may this gratitude contradict despair

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

prepositional Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine has a day that ends somewhat better than it begins...

Soon it will be too wet, and the nights too long, but tonight I rode on the borderline, in the dark, along the path, through the park, to the store, under the full moon.  And most kindly, the night clerk gave me both the this week's coupon (free dozen eggs) and the last week's (free small bottle of olive oil) to go with my stocking-up grocery run. Definitely a windshield day and not a bug day..

I was reading The Archdruid Report today, and though John Michael Greer was writing about something completely different (technological superstitions), these two paragraphs seemed to me to be applicable not only to the topic being discussed, but to the world of clutter as well:

"In a typically cogent article, economist Herman Daly sorts our the law of diminishing returns into three interacting processes. The first is diminishing marginal utility—that is, the more of anything you have, the less any additional increment of that thing contributes to your wellbeing. If you’re hungry, one sandwich is a very good thing; two is pleasant; three is a luxury; and somewhere beyond that, when you’ve given sandwiches to all your coworkers, the local street people, and anyone else you can find, more sandwiches stop being any use to you. When more of anything no longers bring any additional benefit, you’ve reached the point of futility, at which further increments are a waste of time and resources.

Well before that happens, though, two other factors come into play. First, it costs you almost nothing to cope with one sandwich, and very little more to cope with two or three. After that you start having to invest time, and quite possibly resources, in dealing with all those sandwiches, and each additional sandwich adds to the total burden. Economists call that increasing marginal disutility—that is, the more of anything you have, the more any additional increment of that thing is going to cost you, in one way or another. Somewhere in there, too, there’s the impact that dealing with those sandwiches has on your ability to deal with other things you need to do; that’s increasing risk of whole-system disruption—the more of anything you have, the more likely it is that an additional increment of that thing is going to disrupt the wider system in which you exist."

Fuck Yeah!

It was a rough night last night, with despair and worry wrestling equanimity and winning, leading to insomnia and bad dreams. Somehow in all of that my alarming clock never was turned on. I woke up with just enough time to throw everyday clothing on and head out the door to catch the bus to my counseling appointment. No breakfast or even haircombing... BUT I was able to actually walk quickly enough to the bus stop that I made my appointment on time. Today I am grateful to Sharon Rose, who is a goddess of healing; without her efforts I might not be walking at all... Acupuncture and massage works, with the best of skillful hands, mind, and spirit!

may this gratitude contradict despair