Monday, December 29, 2008

local commentary

~:♥:~
The snow is gone, and my alliums are flat. It is kind of amazing to me that the one bunch of greeen onion ends that I planted last winter kept growing for a year, and would be still going strong if the snow and ice hadn't crushed them. I was cutting on that bunch all year; it is a really easy way to have partial allium self-sufficency... buy a bunch of green onions, cut at about 2" off the bottom, eat the tops and plant the green and white rooty ends in a big planter box. They will start to grow and before too long you can start cutting bits off, just like big chives.

There was a point where the patches of snow in the backyard looked like the hide of a pinto pony, all grey-white and crushed greenness, oddly appealing. We've a bit of a reprieve, and if the weather holds above freezing after 12th Night, I intend to get out there and do some of the garden tidying that I neglected earlier in the year. Here's hoping. Maybe I can actually get one of the beds dealt with and plant my garlic. I know it is rather too late for fall planting, but if the ground isn't frozen it should work. We shall see...
~:♥:~

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Seven Days of Happy: Day 7

...well, I'm only a bit late posting this, just never got around to the computer yesterday... Ironically, my happy thing is that technology allows us to keep in touch. That I can see holiday pictures from Berkeley, get messages New Zealand and receive good wishes from friends all over the sweet world makes me a very happy girl. Yuletide greetings to all, from Acorn Cottage here in snowy Portland!
~:~
I love beautiful handmade ceramics, so it was a pleasant surprise that my Sekrit Santa gift was a wee white pottery pipkin, made by the oh-so-talented Gwen-the-Potter.

... I found the perfect spot for it
atop the shelf-cupboard next to my front door. I love all the off-white colors together.

(I was trying to figure out what the collage mirror was reflecting, and I realised that it is the sculptural japanese paper lantern, and a tiny glimpse of the paint-by-numbers winter landscape on the opposite wall)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seven Days of Happy: Day 6

06:29 pm:
Long long ago I was a fool, a young fool who thought she was in love. My father got a job working in Germany, working on the Space Shuttle. My mother, and sister, and kid brother all went along to live there too, for a year! Now at the time I was already not living at home, but I could have lived in Europe for a year. Hindsight is 20/20...One of the many things that my parents bought for themselves, while vacationing in the Norselands, were some of the iconic Icelandic yarn knitted cardigan sweaters.

Last year my mother, in the midst of decluttering, offered to send one of the sweaters to me, much to my delight. Though it is probably the one for my dad, and hence a bit long in the body and arms for me, the extra length makes it the PERFECT thing for this turrible weather. It covers me from my lower back to all but the tips of my fingers in weightless warmth and timeless Scandinavian style. Hooray for wool!

all is calm, all is bright

I went out for one last walk tonight. Checked on the hens, who were burbling away in their cozy strawfilled nest. It never gets really dark in their house, as my across-alley neighbor has a Very Bright Light, and when the chicken house was built, someone, Sol I think, decided that a bitsy window of plexiglass was needed at the top of the south wall, like a chicken clerestory. So the hens are alright... Then I took her own darling Akita self out for one last walk. There is an amazingly beautiful quality to the snowy light. Here in the city the streetlights make it almost as bright as day, with the reflective quality of the whited ground.
I remember when I lived in the backwoods, that the light on the snow meant that the pathways were visible, even if the only light was starlight, because the pathways were far more white than the under the trees. (interesting how the beautiful and vivid imagery is what stays with me, the patterns of color and light and dark, and the kindness of strangers, from that difficult winter)
The air tonight was quiet and still, and the snowfall had stopped. We walked down the middles of the streets, on the packed snowtracks of todays occasional cars. Again I am reminded of how much open space we really have even here, though it is obscured most of the time by the automotive tyranny that usually commandeers it. But the nightwalk was invigorating rather than sleep inducing. As much as I dislike having my toes and fingers prickly from the cold, and as much as I wish for a cozy fireplace in my drafty house, there is something about winter cold that enlivens me, in the same way that summertime heat is completely enervating. I actually found myself jogging a half block, which so excited the dog that she tried to take off gallivanting across the snowy, still iced-over lawns...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Seven Days of Happy: Day 5

The snow does not stop. It slows down, then starts up again. I needed to go out today to pick up the prescription that I couldn't get last week due to busdriver asshatitude... The roundtrip which usually takes about an hour took over four, among other things there was a Trimet bus stuck the built-up snow on the corner of Lombard and Interstate. But that is not the happy... the happy is that there are truly dedicated workers who came to work at the free clinic today, so folks like me could get their meds.
~:~
the frozepins in my backyard...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Seven Days of Happy: Day 4

My home is cute, my home is good, and I've a pantry full of food... (channeling my inner doggerel-girl, and doing my best to delay the inevitable evening "walk the dog in the ice and snow")

you better believe that I am happy and thankful for Acorn Cottage. The winter of '84 I lived for two icy months on the street is Boston, sleeping in the back of a step van and scrambling for work. Washing up at the Y. Eventually got my injured then-boyfriend to his parents house and escaped... the things that don't kill us, forge us into a stronger shape...

I am also happy today for all my beloved friends and family, and all their happy birthday wishes for me. Fifty-four years and still having fun!

too freakin' cute

Looky here, if there had been better weather, you could be eating one of these lemon poppyseed lovelies...
acorn cakelets
(or maybe more than one, the cakelets are JustTheRightSize™, literally just two bites.) And true to the Nordicware reputation, they came out looking wonderful and didn't stick to the pan. Normally I'm not a great fan of nonstick, but for pictorial baking it has a definite use. I didn't use their recipe, but my "new" standard cake recipe, found on twelve22 several years ago. My former standard was a four egg pound cake, which is a bit large for anything but potlucks and parties; this new recipe is a one egg cake, can also be adapted to many flavors, and just fills a 6" cake pan, or one set of acorn cakelets. Very handy and very tasty! I'll mix up a bit of lemon glaze and call it good.

what a day

Woke up to 20F, somewhere between 7 to 8 inches of snow, topped with at least a half inch of ice. The dog, who usually delights in a snowy day, was rather flummoxed by the way all of her legs kept sliding in different directions, then crashing through the ice. My yaktrax worked quite well, 'specially since the snow under the ice is quite fluffy, though I did have moments of feeling like I was part of the Fellowship of the Ring, climbing through a snowy pass (the book not the movie).
~:~
The hens are refusing to come out of their wee henhouse, once I managed to get their door busted loose of the ice which kept it from opening. Even corn wouldn't tempt them, so I tossed some food into them, and went inside to cogitiate on how to get them some water. Decided to put a hook into the plywood roof sheathing inside the henhouse, to hang a waterer. Easier said than done. My chickenhouse is small, about 2 x 3 ft, the whole back opens up for cleaning, but it isn't designed to have a human inside it, plus two hens. Bent backwards, with a hammer, a nail, and a big cup hook, after shoving the dirty straw out of the way. HennyPenny tried to eat my earrings, and I manged to shoo her out of the way, pound a nail into the roof while upside down, then pull the nail out and screw the cuphook into the henhouse ceiling. Used the clawhammer to break the ice on the waterer I'd put in their yard the hour before, hung it in their house, and went back into Acorn Cottage to look for the bottle of Arnica and shake the straw out of my wooly hat.
~:~
I'm going to go bake me some cakelets, gather my dinner cooking ingredients, and make some hummus in case the neighbors come by... then sit and sew
~:~
I'm giving myself an extravagent birthday present, turning the heat up to 65 for the whole day

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I am home, safe and sound. We've got power. The snow is pretty, but relentless.
~:~
I intend to stay home tomorrow. The weather forecast is for the yuck - snow rain and freezing rain. I'm suggesting that no teaparty travel is probably a good idea. Stay home, stay safe, stay warm... (if for some reason you find yourself here at Acorn Cottage, I will feed you hot drinks and cake, and soup)
~:~
I'm going to dig out my camping stove and my box of candles, just in case... Other than that, I'll be cleaning up the homeplace, and doing some baking, and getting caught up on the sewing commissions...
~:~
Decided that I needed a few more supplies to cook myself something nice in the way of a birthday dinner tomorrow. Walked over to New Seasons, which was crazy-busy, and ran into my neighbors K & M who offered me a ride home after shopping, which I accepted with alacrity. Dinner tomorrow will be roasted chicken legs with sage and bacon, kind of a riff on Icelandic Chicken but without the piecrust, some saffron rice, and steamed broccoli.

Friday, December 19, 2008

just dont!

Wierd. I was simmering some bone broth* in the crockpot , preparing to make soup, and added some pearl barley to the pot. Astonishing me, the pot of broth volcanoed up in an explosion of hot foam, covering the countertop and dripping into the partially opened drawers below. I never had this happen in all my soup cooking days, and it was truly a mess to clean up. Explainations anyone?
~:~
Note to self: do NOT read Susan Coopers The Dark Is Rising as your bedtime book. No matter that you have read it many times, and the book ends well...the content is not conducive to peaceful fallingasleep, 'specially when the outdoor lighting sends odd moving shadows across the bedroom ceiling


*save meat bones in freezer until you have a potfull, simmer till all the flavor is in the broth, strain, use as soupstock...

Seven Days of Happy : Day 1

Because who doesn't like to hear about happy things?

The rules:
1. Post about something that made you happy today even if it's just a small thing.
2. Do this every day for a week without fail.


Today my friend Rois told me she finished my present. She posted pictures of it on her Facebook page, and then told me to go and look. It is a little winter cottage paper sculpture.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday sale

Our artisan sale is happening this weekend on Friday and Saturday, here's hoping that the weather gods aren't too grumpy.There should be lots of fun gifty things in glass and fiber and such.My new calendar will be available, and we will be doing a prize raffle for a basket of assorted artisan-made delights...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I was naughty. A package arrived today from my sister and her family. I opened the box to discover a wrapped present. Lovely wrapping, with fancy blue ribbons and a wee pineapple pattypan as a decoration. When I picked up the present, I felt some unmistakeable lumpiness in the irregularly shaped bundle. Like a child squeezing presents, I knew this was....the acorn cakelet pan of fractal wonderment! My sister is sooo good... She is my inspiration in the art of paying attention, in noticing what makes dear folk happy (so as to do what is possible to increase their delight)

So, naughty girl that I am, I opened my present early. Because I intend to do some baking for the tea party on Sunday, and what would be more delightful than wee acorn cakelets...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My attitude about winter is a form of comparison, and since I believe that comparisons are odious, I'm working on letting go of my attitude...

I've been walking so much that my feet are tired. Getting around when the streets are icy is a challenge. I'm quite pleased with how well my Yaktrax grab the ground, they really are like tire chains for your feet.

Have the 2009 Alpha Sketch calendar almost finished; just needs to have the holes punched, hanging cord attached, and all packaged up. The project took more time than I realised, there is a lot of "handling" involved with the cutting, collating, hole punching and so on. I'm really happy with the new images, and am thinking about doing them up as block prints next year, I've been itching to do some printmaking.

I really do have clothing for the cold, as long as it is cold and dry. I'm warmer now that I figured out that my SCA clothing is a better adaptation for this cold snap. Mongol hat, oh yeah - Viking coat, oh yeah - and my woolen stockings are much better than the gorram cotton things I was wearing. I just may make some more stockings (woolen hose) after the rest of the projects are completed. Well fitting modern knee socks are damn near impossible to find, and I do have a good pattern for the ones I make from cloth. Hmmm... That would be the last wearable thing that I haven't already been making for myself...
It wouldn't be realistic for me to knit knee socks... to be comfortable they would need to be in a pretty thin yarn and knit at a pretty small gauge, which means a long time project for one pair of socks, but sewn socks take a very short time, since I don't need to weave the fabric
Made a chocolate cake with raspberry port glaze for potluck tonight. Unfortunately the glaze was a little overcooked as I got sidetracked and it turned into more like jam than glaze; must try again and make sure that doesn't happen (the flavor combination worked really well, but the texture did not...) Oh well

This Friday and Saturday, if the weather cooperates, please come and check out our It Is Not Too Late Sale... Sale is happening at the home of the lovely and talented Rafny, who also designed the sale flyer:



~:~
And... again if the weather allows...please do come over to Acorn Cottage on Sunday for a WinterSolstice/birthday CraftTeaParty. Noon to 5, I'll have teatime goodies and tea, of course, and maybe hot cider as well

Sunday, December 14, 2008

be prepared...

After my one student finished up, and headed back to Seattle with her husband (we checked the webcams for I-5, didn't; look too bad from the parts we could see) I decided that I needed to get out of the house, briefly. It is dark, and cold, and the wind is really Howling in the fir trees down the block. If I had an electricity-generating wind turbine on my roof, instead of the turbine attic ventilators, I'd be really delighted.
- - - ~:~ - - -
Gave the hens some warm water, and some "warm hen porridge" I concocted from leftover tofu and crackers. They looked at me like I was crackers, and went back into their cozy nest box. Well, I tried, I know they need water, but I can't force them. I'll try again tomorrow morning. Smokey loves this kind of weather, doesn't understand that I do not, at all. If I could work at home all winter, with enough housey-warmth that it wasn't onerous, and a full pantry, so all I had to do was look out the windows at the pretty white landscape whilst I was warm and dry and fed, indoors, well maybe I'd feel differently. I'm working on getting my life to that point, and a modicum of working at home is happening, like this weekend. Yay! (...now to move forward on keeping the house warmer during the two or three months where that is an issue)
- - - ~:~ - - -
So I decided, that since this arctic cold is forecast to last a week or so, to get another quart of milk, and to see what there was at Goodwill. Getting dressed to go out was a production. longjohns - wool socks - rain boots - already wearing a wool jumper and longsleeve turtleneck - (since the combination of wool sweater and Goretex rainjacket was less than warm, I switched to plan B) - SCA wool coat - Irish mohair scarf - embroidered tourney blanket wrapped and pinned as a cape - then a silk kerchief and my AnTIrian Viking hat. I looked quite a sight, and had I fallen over, I might have bounced... walking was really dicey. The sidewalks were a mix of crunchy and icey, and the roads were just all ice. Tomorrow will be special. After I get tired of enameling tonight, I'm going to recut the two pairs (grey fleece, and teal velour, ah well, warmth before beauty) of ginormous longjohns that I found at the Goodwill to fit my much shorter legs.
- - - ~:~ - - -
Happy happy phonecall yesterday. We sorted out some of the details of the sewing for new sink trade. I need to do some more detailed sketches, and make a template of the actual faucet piping, (and I'm thinking that probably also the drain fitting as well). And in exchange I will be making an interesting woolen winter coat, lined and tailored in a historical but not Viking style. I love projects that are challenging but do-able. I will be on the lookout for black wool, dense but not too thick, once I have some idea of the style. And someday, eventually, Acorn Cottage will have a copper cloud sink (grin)



11:23 pm
: noisy night

The wind is HOWLING, not just high in the treetops, but round the corners of Acorn Cottage. I'm going off to gather the candle lanterns and matchboxes before bedtime, Just In Case.

cold and crunchy

Woke up to snow. Fortunately it was outside....so I... gave fresh unfrozen water to Hennypenny and Henrietta...froze my fingers taking her own darling Akita-self for a morning constitutional...turned on the kiln for today's class, and started breakfast cooking. Snow is pretty to look at, but I feel really sorry for all the busy artisans who are doing holiday marketplaces this weekend. (not to ignore all the myriads of homeless folks in this and all snowbound cities) The first year my friends and I attempted a holiday sale, back when I lived in Olympia, we had a blizzard instead of happy customers. Fortunately we also had a fireplace, and wood to burn...

In wintertime, especially, I wish that Acorn Cottage had a fireplace, or a teeny wood stove (like one of these lovely things maybe) Halibut Stove or this one Sardine Stove The charm alone would be delightful, not to mention the additional warmth! ...maybe, someday...

The snow is really coming down now, wind swirled and whiteblanketing all my unfinished yard tasks. Over all the leaves I hadn't yet raked from the side yard, over all the weedy bits I hadn't got to, and all the scrappy things in the backyard that were intended for fencing a new chicken yard. Now the focus is on inside workings, on thought and heart and hand together making ideas become real...
- - - - ~:~ - - - -
My neighbor Hans and his little son Alan are out walking in the snow. They stopped to make a tiny snowman from my sidewalk snow, and the dog went berserk when they came and put it atop the workbench legs on my front deck. I have funny creative neighbors (you know that I love this neighborhood) Why you may ask, do I have workbench legs on my deck? I took apart my old standing bench to use the bottom half as a base for a salad table, didn't happen this year, but wouldn't it be nifty to have salad greens growing just outside the front door next year...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

mostly, the good..

Lets see now... I am getting ready for the last workshop of the quarter Cloisonne Enameling all weekend. The weather is supposed to be unpleasant, so it will be a good time to turn up Mr Hot and bask in the glow of 1500 degree kilnwarmth. Soon I will mail out the commissioned pieces that are not 12th Night things. Acorn Cottage is sort of tidy, I suspect that will not be much improved till mid January
~:~
Last night was definitely good. My down-the-street neighbors (Carl and Mollie) had a soup and bread party, that was a get to know folks kind of thing. I've been impressed with what they have done with their yard (they are the folks who removed the front lawn and replaced it with veggie beds and a flower meadow. Mollie built a very short stone wall border around the edge this year, and I found out that she was the one who welded the large trellises that have baby rose vines growing up them on the side of their yard. Karla, who has the awesome garden yard on the corner, with the peace sign wreath over the door, also knows how to weld, she put together all the rebar sculptural fence around her yard, and she has a mig? welder...Mollie also spins yarn and showed us her current project; a gorgeous Navajo style rug she is weaving. I also met the folks who live on the other side of C & M's house. There are a number of folks I've seen there, it is a big house: I met the young couple with the 4 month old baby, and the teenage boy, and the red-haired mom who is also a textile artist. I swear, this neighborhood is just chock full of artistic and sustainable living folks. There was some talk about having some future parties with a kind of "stitch and bitch" crafty kind of aspect. I think that I will start inviting some my neighbors to my parties...

Monday, December 8, 2008

whoo hoo

This weekend, despite my grandiose plans for accomplishment, had many tiny bits of success instead...The oh so pretty sky on Saturday was a real high point, and glad I am that someone managed to catch a picture of it, I was standing at a transit transfer station, watching it turn all kins of colors over the Portland skyline, and wishing that I'd brought my camera with me.
~:~
Two of my Olympia friends came down to Portland today, and I had a very pleasant afternoon visiting with Maeve, who kindly brought down some of her wonderful homemade jams and cheeses for me to try. Mmmm. figgy jam and soft fresh cow cheese.

When Bill came by after picking his artwork up from a gallery show in Beaverton, he was able to repair my badly cracked eyeglass frames. I am truly grateful, they were hanging together with only a thread of metal, and the apparently oh-so-unfashionable style of eyeglass I prefer is not easily available, either on-line or in local optical shops. While I've a fair bit of experience soldering, Bill can do things easily that are difficult or impossible for me. 10.000 thank yous to Mr Dawson!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday thoughts

Under the down puff I sleep warm, and Smokey has her own thick fur; this morning my house heat came on, by itself, for the first time this year (I keep it set at 55). One of those year-milestones... I think winter is here.
~:~
In the morning while dogwalking: with a sudden thud, a squirrel fell from the sky. Well from atop a large tree, directly in front of me and her own darling self. Not sure who was more startled. Happily, it scampered off and up the next tree before we had a squirrel squeaky toy incident.
~:~
The gods of small thrifting have been kind to me lately: A nice older Revereware saucepan to replace the one that died. I can tell it is older, as tis heavier and the handle is attached more solidly... A vintage clear glass Anchor Hocking covered refrigerator dish,perfect for storing leftovers, which I'd been wishing for something like... Then an 18" tall oak jewelry organiser with spaces for 60 pairs of earrings and six necklace pegs, all mounted on a "lazy susan" base. This will be perfect for display; I think the universe is telling me to make earrings to sell, since I certainly don't own sixty pairs of earrings!
~:~
Which reminds me... we will be having a holiday sale after all, the Many Hands of the Last Minute Show on Friday December 19th from 11 to 7, and Saturday December 20th from 10 to 4 at the home of the lovely Rafny. So there will be wonderful locally handmade artistic delights for whatever (seasonal holiday of choice) you celebrate.

And that Sunday will be a Solstice tea party here, so mark your calendars for a busy weekend
~:~
Sunday the 7th is "houseyversary-3", I've been living here at Acorn Cottage for three years now. The traditional gifts for a third anniversary are leather or crystal. Hmmm nothing really comes to mind immediately that I can look for as a housey-gift...
~:~

Sunday, November 30, 2008

zip zero zilch - not

well the zip zero zilch is how much energy I have, I can't seem to shake these ongoing colds, but I managed to teach all weekend anyway (even if I couldn't breathe), and my students made the most lovely painted enamels.
Now bear in mind that these pieces are each the size of a US quarter, under an inch across. Each set of students I have, I keep saying you guys are the best yet, neither of these folks had ever done this before...
cephalopod front and back views; still on the enameling trivet
~:~

pussy-willow with heart, and a green branch under the moon
~:~

a lovely bit of new Coeur du Val regalia
~:~
This was the sample piece that I worked on in class, to demonstrate techniques. Don't know why I so like that barrel shape but it has remained a satisfying shape for several years now. I have a strand of turquoise beads that shape from the first Oregon Country Fair I attended. The kanji on the small, 1 1/2" x 1", enamel say "koromogae" which means "seasonal change of clothing" (if the wonders of the internet are accurate, and my calligraphy isn't too terrible) Haven't ever done micro kanji before, but for some reason that was what was needed, and I happend to have something written out on the inspiration board that fit the design...
~:~
Y'know, I've always said that I hated rap.

When I was in college I had to write papers on various metalworked objects, and I loathed the Bauhaus metalworking, couldn't find anything in it that wasn't a waste of good silver. My instructor made me go back and rewrite my paper twice, insisting that I needed to look at and into it more deeply, that convoluted and erudite ways of saying YUCK weren't enough... Eventually I was able to look at it with some understanding, and write clearly about the context. Still didn't make me like it any better, but it became comprehensible...

Friday while riding home from work on the bus, a lively group of folks on the bus started talking to me; seemed like students with time off for the holiday, who had been going around talking to people about "Buy-Nothing Day", offering free hugs, and one young man had a sign that said "Free Gift Rapping" I looked a bit puzzled at that one, so the young man obliged. Somehow I never realised that rapping is can be a kind of extemporaneous poetic commentary, that does that magical thing of drawing attention to the "what is now"... so a big thankyou to the kids with their raggedy signs and bongo drums on the bus, who shifted my preconceptions just a bit.
~:~

Friday, November 28, 2008

a very good thing

Guess what is in this big box...
Ta Daa.....
This!
My maslin pan came today. And it is rather larger than I'd realised, which is a good thing. Just like the description, it fits nicely on a burner. I'm really glad that I decided to get the matching lid as well.

It is much larger than any of my other saucepans, and will be useful not only for preserving, but for any time I want to cook for more than a few folks. Soups and stews and suchlike will be ever so much easier when I've guests.

Monday, November 24, 2008

thoughts about paint

I've got an idea now about which colors I want for painting which rooms, and while I had the loan of a car last week (thanks Megan) I took the opportunity to pick up some more of the wonderful (100%recycled and super low VOC) MetroPaint; paint cans are heavy to carry while riding public transit. At the Metro paint facility, they have a great color-mix book, which shows the many different colors you can get mixing the 15 standard colors, and the two gallons I came home with should mix up to a nice medium blue-grey for the living room walls.

I've paint for most of the other rooms too: the workroom will be pale grey with white trim, the kitchen will be a warm taupe stone color, and the bathroom will be lavender, (to look good with the eventual copper sink and ironwork.) My bedroom will most probably be dark grey again, which I find restful rather than gloomy. I've still several gallons of the paint I mixed up and used in Olympia, I'm thinking about doing a white decorative painted frieze again, I loved the one in my former bedroom, even if it did take me three days to paint...

upper frieze with painted faux picture rail trim
decorative silhouettes with a painted faux chair rail
~:~

creative upcycled retro-style functionality

Look here! My DIY clock project photo was featured....as an example on the current AT regional Cure post for "Week Seven"!
~:~
I've been painting and assembling salvaged bits to make a new studio clock; it makes enameling easier if you can watch an analog second hand to judge how long your piece has been in the kiln. Found where the clock mechanism was hiding this morning (I'd put it away in a safe place), and just finished the assembly and final paint touch ups. It looks most satisfyingly "artifacty" in a 1950's kind of way. I'm happy.
not the best photo, it's nighttime

The new mechanism is MUCH quieter than my other clock, tho' they are both the same product, a "non-ticking" movement. (I find ticking clock sound maddening and insomnia-inducing, it is a good thing I'm not a puppy) And while my intention was to have this be a studio clock, it is looking really happy on the wall in the kitchen...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

weak-end

I've been having very sore arms, due to raking up the very wet leaves in my yard. A task I loathe, so have been doing it in 15 minute increments all weekend. Set timer then go rake. Bell rings, stop, go do something else for a while till my conscience sends me to do it again, repeat. The front yard looks less like the yard of shame.
~:~
To help with the job, I made a burden cloth. Leaf raking entails leaf moving as well, which is something I've never really gotten the hang of (how clueless is that?) Last year I simply grabbed armfuls of wet leaves and dumped them in the wheelbarrow, which was well... wet, yucky, and inefficient. So this years innovation was to take a big square chunk of the formerly porch awning (formerly formerly merchant dayshade) and sew webbing loop handles into each corner. Now I can rake the leaves onto a piece of canvas, and grab the corners easily to carry and dump in the leaf compost bin in the backyard.
~:~
I started making a new clock for the house, with the intention to evoke the midcentury style of the George Nelson Ball Clock. With wooden beads from the craft store, and a bit of metal salvaged from an old chandelier (a large wire openwork circle with twelve evenly spaced prongs around the edge). I'm painting the beads sky blue, and the metal parts flat black. Somewhere I've another clock mechanism stashed away, I'm sure it isn't buried too deeply, and will be found by the time I'm done with the painting...
~:~
I've been quite amused by the Gmail theme I selected: "Tea House". Throughout the day, and night, the characters appear doing different tasks and activities, matched to the day and night of my location. SO far, little fox has picked flowers, and had a tea party with monkey, and is currently climbing the ladder to bed, leaving behind in the garden a lighted fish lantern, while fireflies dance above the birdbath, I know that later tonight small ghosts will play in the garden while fox sleeps. It would be really fun to make a miniature environment to match the images, like in the Rumer Godden books Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, and Little Plum, which I loved as a child, and still do.
~:~
In the interest of using up some little bits of the neverending boxes filled with supplies for crafty goodness, I've made five vintage style holiday garlands, using funky old paper "Christmas scrap" ephemera (from England, and from West Germany) backed with wool felt and stitched to ribbons. I'll be putting them into the store, as well as the button heart ornaments, and my mistletoe earrings... Must take more pictures...

Friday, November 21, 2008

If you wish upon a winter star

1. a quart jar of old mother of pearl buttons
I need more accessories to go with my button crown and earrings!
2. two height adjustable office chairs on casters (no arms)
The workroom needs chairs for students, old armless office chairs on wheels work great, I've got two, and need two more
3. two cubic yards of leafmold compost
garden helper, next year will hopefully see the raised beds made higher
4. bathroom electric wiring fixed,
waiting patiently
5. sheetrock replaced where the ceiling was torn out by Demoliton Boy
I never figured out why this was necessary, but it sure makes it cold inside
6. Brother 1034D serger
to speed up my sewing
7. eight or ten foot stepladder
I'm short, what can I say...my roof gutters are so far away
8. carpal tunnel release surgery for my left wrist, done by an experienced and competent surgeon, and two months time to recover
Well a girl can dream of medical insurance coverage, right...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday thoughts

One of these days I'll have to break down and turn the heat on. It is getting downright chilly.

Today I realised that I'd misplaced my rain-hat. Again. For the second time this year. This is not the time of year when no rain hat is a option. So rather than head over to REI to buy yet another Seattle Sombrero, in a fit of peeved frugality I decided that I could dammit make myself a new one. Who knew that in this most outdoor of all towns, the very town that was my go-to town for all things fabric for decades, that it would be so very hard to find a good source for outdoor type fabrics.

Wasted literally hours on the phone this morning calling all my favorite fabric-type places with zip for results, 'till a friendly clerk at the Milwaukee Mill Ends suggested that I try someplace in NW called Rose City Textiles. Took yet a bit more tracking down, but by late lunchtime I'd found my way over into the industrial NW zone, an area I've not really visited at all. (makes me wonder what other wonders lurk there)

Their storefront is chock full of all kinds of technical and fashionable knits, organic, recycled and various sorts, more Malden Mills fleece than I'd seen since I left Massachusetts and a whole room of outdoor-gear fabrics and supplies. I was able to get some lovely gunmetal grey Goretex and all the other supplies that I need to make a new rainhat... Being primarily a wholesaler they sell in increments of whole and half yards. I've not seen such a good selection of lycra jersey and such in any of the other local shops, and while not suitable for historical projects, I foresee another trip there to acquire fabrics for various other projects like t-shirts, leggings and lingerie.
~:~
Today didn't see much art happening, despite the best of intentions. I did however finally manage to string the lovely beads I'd traded for (thank you Rafny) into a necklace for my sister-in-law. Better late than never. I had fun playing with the asymmetry of the different shades of blue.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

what I did on my "day off"

Today I went out to Hrafinstaad and spent a good chunk of the day visiting and crafting with my dear friend Rois. She has a great collection of supplies, and I'd brought along a few books of inspiration, as well as some buttons and wire and beads. I finished up some of the button hearts, and will put one or two up in the shop tomorrow. We ended up making some mixed media, kind of vintage, good fairies. With paper and pipe cleaners, and bits of a disintegrating old children's book, and glitter and glue. I forgot how much I like glitter and glue.

button heart ornaments and a glittery goodfairy
~:~

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a busy weekend

The second teaching weekend in a row, this one was Introduction to Cloisonne, with three students. Everything went relatively smoothly. My students loved the Friday evening introductory. (Smokey was delighted and sure they had all come to visit her, fortunately they were all dog people) Saturday much work was accomplished...
And by the end of the weekend they each successfully each completed a lovely medallion. I truly enjoy sharing my skills by teaching others, and one of my particular delights is to see the varied imagery that my students devise. These pendants were so different from one another, yet each takes good advantage of the characteristics of this style of enameling.
My camera and skills are not sufficient to my desire, and since the class ended after nightfall, I needed to photograph the pendants with the workroom lights, which isn't ideal.
~:~
Haven't done much with the house this week, being focused on teaching. I did manage to do a small rearrangement of the entry-area, adding a key bowl and mail catcher bracket to the top of the cupboard that defines the entry area. The idea is to have an immediate place to deal with the "incoming" stuff, so that it gets dealt with, and doesn't get scattered about the house. This way it does, and the recycling station is just a step away inside the kitchen archway. The small vase of flowers makes me smile whenever I return home, cut flowers always feel so extravagant to me, even just a single stem of alstromeria. The key bowl was a gift from my dear friend Jen.

~:~
I am hoping that tomorrow will not be rainy, I have the front yard of shame on my entire block, being so busy with arty-teachery pursuits that my lawn is now entirely covered with fallen leaves. Everyone else was outside this beautiful crispy autumn weekend raking up the bountiful offerings, except me. I was busy. Indoors. Tomorrow between work, I need to get the front yard raked, and need to get one garden bed cleared so I can plant garlics, or next year will be very sad and not at all aromatic!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

revisions


Found this leaf whilst riding to the grocery shopping this afternoon, something about the glowy edges against the almost black caught my eye, like a synesthesial image of the smell of autumn against the weight of winter to come
~:~
Okay, finally finished the class schedule, after spending some time consulting with my Guest Instructor about what he is interested in teaching that can be transported here to Acorn Cottage. I'm trying for a good balance between basic enameling skills and varied special interest classes...

Revised Workshop list for next quarter:
Jan 23-25 ~ Cloisonne Enameling
Feb 06-08 ~ Painted Enameling
Feb 20-22 ~ Fold Forming for Jewelry
Mar 06-08 ~ Stamped Champleve
Mar 20-22 ~ Cloisonne
Enameling
Apr 03-05 ~ Fun Without Flame:
Decorative Stamping
and Cold Connections

I am particularly excited about the Fold Forming workshop as that is a technique that I am interested in myself, a fascinating way to shape complex 3D forms relatively quickly, using simple tools.

I'm also glad to be offering the Fun Without Flame class. Lots of folks don't have a torch, can't have one in their apartment, or are not yet comfortable using one, and there are many jewelry techniques that can combine to make beautiful and potentually useful objects without ever needing solder...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

housewifely ramblings...

Good dinner tonight, and I used about half the bunch of lacinato kale, steamed along with a sweet potato cut into chunks, which combination I'm inclined to repeat
~:~
Everything takes more time than I think it will. I've been working out the class schedule for the first quarter of 2009. Once the word processing is completed I can make copies, which needs to happen before Friday evening. This might be faster if I had a proper desktop publishing program, but then again, it might not, it might just be me...
Cloisonne Enameling
- January 23 - 25, February 20 - 22, March 20 - 22
Painted Enameling
- February 6 - 8 (a fun option for Valentine gifties)
Stamped Champleve
- March 6 - 8
Decorative Stamping and Cold Connections
- April 3 - 5 (taught by Bill as guest instructor)
~:~
Smokey seems to be feeling better, yesterdays "wommiting" was a rare aberration, fortunately, and I've added rice to her food today. She thinks that if I only added some raw fish it would make great dog sushi!, I saw her eyeing my little piece of salmon with hungry eyes.
~:~
Sometime in the next two weeks I need to get some garden time in to prep a bed and plant garlic, or next year will be very very sad... I've got a lead on a source for rabbit poop mixed with hay bedding, a person who does bunny rescue who is even willing to deliver some at regular intervals, since they don't live very far away. This could be a good thing for the future garden bed refurbishment.
~:~
In just a few weeks it will be Acorn Cottage's "housiversary" Hmmm... I'll need to think of what might be an appropriate housey-gift in honor of our third year together.

Monday, November 10, 2008

time for teaching

Well, I'm not being entirely successful yet at doing art every day, but here are some current pictures. This weekend I co-taught a workshop on Engraving for Enameling; I taught the cloisonne portion, Bill came down from Oly to teach the engraving portion... I made a new cloisonne bit as a demo piece during the workshop, which will become part of the stock for 12th Night. A sweet little engraved laurel, two-color leaves on a transparent blue background, about the size of a quarter...

I also ran across some old notional bits and decided to make a pair of earrings to match my button crown

~:~
Our student made a lovely pendant as a gift for his wife, featuring her favorite flower. This is a wonderful example of using very simple wire shapes to great effect, and the two color opaque enamel for the flower really works well.


~:~
Three more workshops happening in the next month... anyone out there want to make some special gifts or regalia before the holiday season/12th night? If you've any special things you'd like to learn this spring, I'm also in the middle of putting together the workshop schedule for first quarter 2009.
~:~

Thursday, November 6, 2008

entryway improvements

I'm really grateful for the various suggestions about the Acorn Cottage entryway and how I might be able to have a place for some of my hats that wasn't a cluttered mess.

This is what the entry area looks like now, if you stand in the hallway looking towards the front door, and the before picture is what it looked like on the day I had the house inspected (prior to the actual purchase).
currently - - - - - - - - - - - - - - and before

The door itself is a painted steel door, so using it for anything other than a magnet board would be fairly difficult. I have done my best to create a transition zone for the "entryway", and it works fairly well.

The Ikea cabinet next to the doorway divides the space gently from the rest of the room, while adding needed closed storage. Eventually I will run some wiring to add lights to the set of three different ricepaper lanterns that are also part of the entryway dividing zone. The key bowl and the mail holder currently live on the cabinet here as well, but that is probably not their eventual home.

To the left of the door, (a space less than 24" wide), are my peg racks for hanging coats, hats, purse, etc... which are attached to the wall as high as I can easily reach. The dog leash and collar hang from a hook attached to the doorframe edge between here and the kitchen; there is no door to the kitchen but only an open doorway, (more clearly visible in the "before" picture). The basket on the floor below the peg rack holds Smokeys collection of stuffed toys, her dog comb, and some random junk. I'm thinking of moving the dog-basket, it is really interesting how a photo will give you new eyes to see your familar landscape.
~:~
I picked up several different boxes of nails today at Mr Plywood, so I'm off to attach the remaining edge molding for the chalkboard project. I adore going to Mr Plywood, even if the clerks there are sometimes amused at my requests, they are kind, knowledgable, helpful, (and often handsome).

dusty progress

Among other things today, I've managed to almost complete the chalkboard wall installation. 95% of the work was in brain figuring out how to actually attach the parts to the wall, which takes weeks of thought. Once I can do that, I'm usually so eager to actually make it happen, that I forget to go and find a dust mask before sawing the wood bits. I really should get a small cartridge respirator... So now I'm coughing and hacking, and the installation is looking pretty much just the way I envisioned it.

The narrow shelf unit between the chalkboards is made from a salvaged containerly bit from the ReBuilding Center, and had the sides modified to help hold the pieces of chalkboard in place. So of course I had to take a picture and do a photo montage...

(you can click on the image up to three times,
to enlarge it repeatedly and see much more detail)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

voting day

I've already voted (days ago) but am having a hard time pulling myself away from the computer to do the other things that need done today... My wandering around online will not have any effect on the outcome of this historic election. The ballot drop off station at the end of my street, which has been a pair of arch-topped metal mailboxes bolted to the ground, last week was replaced with what looked like a small shipping container. I think that (hope that) there must be so many more voters than usual that they needed a bigger box!
~:~
Went to the free clinic last night to get my flu shot. I'm so grateful that this clinic exists, and that I am fortunate enough to live in their service area. Certainly doesn't cover most of my medical needs, but without any insurance, even a bit helps a lot, and that $35 that I don't need to pay out for a flu shot can go in the piggybank towards heat this winter. Maybe someday the USA will be like most of the other first world countries and all our citizens will have medical coverage for their basic needs (stepping off tiny soapbox now...)
~:~
Todays tasks:
Post picture from yesterdays creative project
tidy studio for class this weekend, a bigger project than it sounds like
pay bills
bake for potluck
Ibex sketch
find class handout & xerox

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday snippets

Humph! I hates it when I'm carelessly clumsy. While reaching for dishes to wash I dumped the whole tin of sunflower seeds over, most of them ended up on the floor, or amongst the dirty dishes. And why pray tell was the sunnie tin there, because I'd forgotten to put it back in the pantry after breakfast! Ah well, the hens will have a nice morning treat tomorrow. And they could use one, they're moulting Guess who decided that the swept up sunnies made a nice snack while I was typing...

~:~

Day #2
A bit of work today on my 2009 calendar images. The theme for the year will be alphabetical: animal and botanical. I'd been wondering about formatting the calendar long vertically, but 'twill be a bit more economical to print as stubby rectangles like I've done before. And I just worked out how to include a digital "watermark" on my images, for when posting them online. And I think it will be a better plan to awaken earlier in the day, and spend early time doing artwork before doing the out-of-home tasks.

~:~
I love fractals, especially tasty fractal food. This lovely thing came home with me from the farmers market yesterday, and will be part of dinner tonight. Mmm steamed alien food!
~:~
I've still quite a bit to do to get ready for the engraving class this coming weekend, and still need to attach the chalkboards to the wall. Instead of wrestling with that task, I spent the afternoon on the Max out to Ikea and back, where I acquired 4 small worklights for the student workbench. Step by step, I make slow progress.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

last of the witchy-girls

Just finished photographing and listing the last of the witchy-girls in my Etsy shop. Aminita Witchgirl has her own jack-o-lantern, and my favorite detail, a wee tiny pennanular brooch fastening her embroidered overdress closed.
That's it for the Halloween/Samhain goodies for this year. Now to focus on the upcoming enameling classes, and holiday gift sale items. I'd best do another posting about the November classes; I listed the classes on "TeachStreet", but should re-list on Craigslist and maybe 3M... I think I kind of horrified the nice political canvasser this afternoon, she asked if I was interested on volunteering my time, and I said that since I had five (part-time) jobs I didn't really have much free time for suchlike.

My hens were worrying me a bit, not really eating well, and stopped laying. Then I realised that A - it is really getting dark early, and B - they are moulting. Their favorite hangout spot under the arborvitae is full of henfeathers. Just in time for the cold weather, silly girls.

I'm beginning to wonder if I am not having a new allergy instead of a series of colds... viral colds usually last more thatn a day or two, and I feel crappy, then better, every few days???. I'm so tired that I kept nodding off on the bus home from Sellwood this afternoon.

Am trying to decide about ordering fruit tree(s) from Friends of Trees. They have semi-dwarf Jonagolds, and Red Bartletts. On the plus side, they deliver and plant the trees for you, on the minus side, since they're yard trees rather than street trees, there is no subsidy, so the trees are 60$ each. Hmmm... and not much time to decide, as the supply of fruit trees they get is very limited. The Enterprise apples are already sold out.

New red shoes! I'd found some garnet color Keen "Seattle" maryjanes online in my size. As they are a two-years-ago discontinued style, (that just happens to fit my oddball feet) they were not too spendy. I have an odd response to the sense of coming financial hard times, I want to make sure that I have a pair or two of shoes stashed away. After all, I can make for myself pretty much every other clothing bit that I wear, from the skin out, but shoes that fit, and don't hurt, and support my feet are way beyond my skill level. So there is a pair of new red shoes in my shoe cubbies. The shoes that they sent me don't fit! They are marked the same size that I wear, and appear to be the same style, but are visibly smaller in size. I'm guessing that they are mis-marked. Now I am peeved instead of happy, I will probably have to pay to return the shoes that don't fit. As my late fiance would say GrumpGrumpGrump

I'm going to go take the dog for a walk and calm down, Then I'm going to clear off the dining table and finish the bird mobile that needs to get sent out tomorrow with the squares for the fabric swap. Then I'm going to bed...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

weekend progress

This second cold has really slowed me down. I took a carton of junk to Goodwill, and have been going through the myriad boxes of misc papers. Only two left to sort! I found a woodgrain glass ceiling light, that I 'd stashed in one of my kitchen cupboards, which is now a bowl on top of the fridge holding pears, apples and artichokes. Cleaning out the inside and top of the fridge was a Good Thing.

I have had several new ideas about how to set up areas of the house up in a more functional way. Thinking about a shelf-desk hung on the wall with brackets in the sewing/guest room. I had been thinking about using some Ikea butcherblock countertop, but realised that solid-core plywood would work quite well, and be much more affordable... I'm toying with the idea of covering the plywood with old sewing pattern instruction sheets, not sure if it is too "cutesy-scrapbooky" for my style.

I am really really bad at the de-cluttering thing, each time I do that I lose things I was trying to keep track of, very frustrating. What works for me is to set up places where things belong, so I can find them again.

I figured out that I might be able to hang my spider plant in the living room, if I can find a hanging plant pot that doesn't look awful, and move the other plants onto the dining table. I'm keeping my eyes open for some plant pots that will make them look less haphazard

Must go clear one little area today!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

meet little Damiana

I'm finishing up the last two Halloween/Samhain figurines for this year. Making these characters is a lot of fun, the kind of thing I really enjoyed as a child, and I still enjoy. Damiana is the smallest one, only 2 3/4" tall from her feet to her little felt cap with "devil horns". My front window is divided into six panels by a deep grid, perfect for setting up little vignettes, and (during the day) well lighted for taking photographs for my Etsy store where all these tiny folk are now available. I'm figuring out how to best use my camera, whilst it's not as fancy as some, it does a nice job on what I need it for.
Here is the whole tribe of little wryd sisters so far, Damiana with her big sister Belladonna, and friend witchHazel.
A close up of Damiana
~~~~~~~~~~
I'm hoping to finish Aminita tonight, she only needs to have her hair and hat completed. I've a number of other tasks as well, like gluing together the wood molding layers needed to hold the chalkboard to the walls in the studio.

It's been a beautiful day. Two loads of laundry were sun-dried on the clothesline. My cold feels better when I'm outside in the cool clear sunny air, and I took advantage of the nice weather to go to the farmers market again. An enormous head of tah tsai, and more of the sweet tender Tillamook artichokes. Dinner tonight will be curried chicken and tah tsai (in the style of paalak paneer, still am gunshy about purchasing spinach, and didn't find any at the market) I'm trying a new recipe that I found online. When I have a cold, I like to eat spicy foods, my bottle of sweet chili sauce has been almost emptied in the last few weeks. Well, I'm off to go ride over to New Seasons and get some chicken for dinner, before the sun goes down...

Friday, October 24, 2008

meh!

I seem to have acquired more dang respiratory crud. Could this be somehow related to the disturbing of layers of dust bunnies and dog fur, or more likely the riding on the bus...

When Rafny and I went to the bins on Thursday, I made a lucky find. I'm doing my best to not add to the random useful-someday clutter here, so have a short list of "things I need". I was delighted to find a five caster pneumatic office chair, in quite good condition, for $5. The upholstery is hardly worn, and is even blue tweed... A timely addition in the workroom before the classes next month.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

random snippets and a requiem of sorts

the sky is that lovely Maxfield Parrish blue, and the solar lanterns near the front door are just beginning to light up. I'm going to split my evening time between wire bending and paper sorting, with little detours to add content here...
~~~~~~~~
The N x NE clinic called and I now have an appointment for a FREE flu shot. Every little bit helps when you don't have insurance...
~~~~~~~~
Done husking the bay nuts (Umbellularia californica); about 2/3 of the weight is husk, so I've about 1 1/4 lb to be dried...
~~~~~~~~
for my wooden bowl:
a requiem on the patient faithfulness of inanimate objects,
(something I think about a lot; my primary delight is creating just such objects)
~*~
Once upon a time partway through a century long ago there was a girl with a head full of dreams and fancies. She lived in Cambridge Mass Our Fair City, only it wasn't called that then. There were lots of pretty young folks to look at, and wonderful music to hear, and curious little shops that sold almost anything that you might want (and the things the shops didn't sell you could find in the street markets in Harvard Square, or on Cambridge Common) And in some random ancestor of the oh-so-posh kitchen shops we have today, she found a wooden bowl. There were shelves and shelves of treen of all sorts, and she took this one home (well, since you asked, she paid for it and took it home, she wasn't that kind of hippie)

It was round and brown and shaped kind of like a teacup, only instead of a teacup handle, the top edge of the bowl swooped out into a nice curved handle-hole. Sized just right for a suppersworth of soup, or a nice warm bowl of winter oatmeal, and the bowl was thick enough that food would stay warm until eaten.

That bowl went cross-country on the Green Tortoise, and tied to her belt went to a renaissance fair. It moved with her all around greater Boston, and banged around the back of a step van to a Rainbow Festival. Along for the ride to Los Angeles, and North County, and all up the west coast. It served up blackberry jam at an Evergreen potluck. It sat on a shelf in Seattle, held huckleberries in a backwoods cabin in Sandpoint, then rode safely back to the damp side of the mountains in the back of a pickup truck. Just a little different than all those thrift store bowls, it found lots of new friends, just like she did, when she found the SCA.

And she moved to Acorn Cottage, and the faithful bowl lived in the kitchen. And every time she looked at it, or ate her scotch broth and barley, or steelcut oats with honey, memory of being a young thing would surface, like a wisp of sweet smoke, and she'd smile.

Yesterday, she was cleaning the kitchen, and washing the dishes, and when she went to scrub and rinse the bowl, there was a long crack down one side. And foolish foolish tears came to her eyes, and that young girl with the bifocals and the grey grey hair washed the bowl for one last time

simple pleasures

Today I finished another little witchy-girl, and she's been photographed and is in the store...
This is Belladonna, she is very proud of her ruffled sleeve cuffs and her green stripey socks
~~~~~~~~~~~
What a lovely perfect autumn day it is today. When I was walking back from the bus this afternoon, past the big bay tree, I noticed that the ground was littered with bay nuts! Earlier this year it didn't look like there was going to be much of a crop, but I guess they were just late developing. I picked up over 3 pounds still in the husks. Bay nuts are related to avocado, I think, and have a moist greenish fruit/husk/skin, which must be removed. then the nuts get dried at a low temperature, and then roasted at a higher temperature before they are eaten. I will be checking the other trees in the neighborhood as well, now.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Must fly and cook some lunch, then take advantage of the non-rain to bike the recycling away and get some groceries...

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oh no!

I shouldn't be allowed to go online no no no. Look what I found:
If only my home wasn't named "Acorn Cottage". and although this is cute, and useful, I don't think I can justify the cost. Besides, I have a really hard time convincing my friends that I do not want more acorn things, lest my home turn into the all acorns all the time 24-7 acorn channel, and then to find this... Aaaargh I want it now....
Acorn Cakelet Pan - $36 at Williams-Sonoma

....must...not...buy...cake pan

Sunday, October 19, 2008

weekend progress report

I have a number of wooden "book-boxes" that are sized to fit paperback books, which Mark made for me years ago, when we were living together. I had been thinking of mounting them on the wall in the hallway, as kind of a long shelf just above eye level. With the addition of an odd little Goodwill shelf, it runs the length of the hallway from the kitchen down to just before the portiere that divides the public Acorn Cottage from the bedrooms. While I had plenty of wall anchors, I needed washers to help secure the anchor screws, so Saturday afternoon required a trip to the Hardware Store with the Cute Clerk. (heck, this old gal will get her cheap thrills were she can...)

The shelf project worked out in a very tidy fashion. I'm eventually thinking about putting artwork up above the books, and the box-shelves are wide enough for small "sculptural" bits as well
The shadowbox shelf was originally an awful "Country with a K" Goodwill find with heart-shaped chicken-wire-filled cutouts on little doors. I thought the shelf layout seemed vaguely japanese, once I removed the doors and hinges. I've temporarily slipped some decorative paper behind the sections. In the lower left compartment is "A Year On the Farm" a really sweet Little Golden Book from the original series circa 1948
Of course, now that this shelving is up, the lower shelving seems even more disorderly. My eventual plan is to have several more long wall-mounted shelves, starting about two feet below the paperback shelves, and deeper, sized for the larger books in my collection. Ah well, one step at a time, and it does feel really good to get this little bit finished, using what I have already. I was also able to clear away a lot of hidden dust bunnies, and purged a few books to take to Powells, and some went directly into the take-to-Goodwill bag, which went away Sunday afternoon.

It seems that I prefer to do almost anything rather than sort papers. I think it is time to break out the timer, and do the 15 minute thing. I haven't touched the boxes yet, other than to move them out of the guest room. Perhaps I'd best get off the computer now, and go do a bit of that...

Friday, October 17, 2008

inspiration style images

I made several style-collages, using images both paper and digital, messing around with Photoshop layers. My idea is to have a reference of the overall effect I'm hoping for, eventually, for Acorn Cottage. I actually took the files to my local copy store and had them printed out on card stock, so I can put them into my housey rejuvenation notebook.
Modern Eclectic Whimsical Handicrafted
I've collected these images over several years. The overall theme became even more clear as I added more and more images. Colors: cool blue-grey-taupe-stone range. Materials: natural linen, indigo denim, mostly light wood. Small amount of warm red as an accent. Pacific Rim meets Danish Modern, with a dash of McMenamins and Karl Larsson thrown in. Yup... that's what I'm aiming for.