Sunday, February 28, 2010

some teaparty tidbits + a giveaway

When did this happen - or, do I really look like that?...
I took advantage of my guests this afternoon to have a picture taken, outside, and without my arm at an odd angle to hold the camera far enough away to catch my reflected image. It is always a surprise shock to see a photograph of myself. What I really notice however, is how much I look like my beloved grandma "Nana Fay", somehow in my mind's eye I look very different, and somehow not as old, even when I look in the mirror.
I like the split cowl knit top much better as worn here, under a jumper (this one is black silk noil.) The rayon knit fabric is so thin and soft, it feels wonderful to wear.
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Another fun Crafternoon teaparty...My dear friend Megan was first to arrive, bringing still warm! homemade oatmeal bread. We had a nice visit back in the sewing room, till she had to leave to complete some necessary tasks, about the same time as the doorbell rang for more visitors. It was Stacey and her sweetie Barret, who rode over here on their bicycles, along with Vandy. A bit later, Marya and Aelflaed showed up as well. There was lots of happy chatter, and much tea was consumed. A possible Mother's Day Gift Sale for April 23/24th was discussed, and a "swap-your-stash" supply trading day is planned for the Crafternoon teaparty on April 25. A bit later we all trooped outside to make use of the remaining sunshine daylight to take some photos documenting Aelflaed's knitting. I couldn't resist saving this one -
(this photo needs a caption)
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So apparently over the last few years I have written 400!?! posts about various things. Seems like a lot of writing, and worth commemorating. So by way of doing that, I'll be choosing someone to receive a special prize, and all you need to do to enter the giveaway is to comment here on this entry, with a caption for the photo above. I will choose the winning entry on March 7th.

Friday, February 26, 2010

brought to you by the letter "W"

W is for Wool... as in Wow! today I Won the Wooly jackpot!!

My prize arrived from the Kenleighs Fiber Studio Felting Challenge - an assortment of Jacob sheep wool in shades of medium and light grey. This will be a lot of fun to make into needlefelted artifacts, possibly some tiny sculptural jewelry components...
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but wait...it gets even better...
my package from the Wee Warm Wishes swap arrived at the same time; it traveled a long journey to get here, all the way from Langley, British Columbia! Inside I found all kinds of nifty goodies both useful and beautiful...
A little tin, full of an assortment of stitch markers, and a nice big yarn needle ('cos I keep losing mine), and a shiny pebble and a shell - my swap pal know that I cherish the tiny bits of the natural world that find their way to Acorn Cottage from faraway places. And two handspun skeins of the most subtly colored wool, like the forest and ocean seen through mist; these will wait for me to pick a project that will show off their beauty.
The most astonishing thing, though, is this hand-knit Daybreak shoulder shawl, in a soft medium grey and a pale greenish grey!!! When I saw it posted on Ravelry, I admired it greatly, but didn't dream that it was intended to come here to me... Imagine if you will, me opening the package, then small happy sounds of "oooo ooo I can't believe it"...I've been walking around with a very happy goofy grin all day, and my shoulders are warm... A mighty thank you to my special sekrit swap pal, who I now know to be Elizabeth Braidwood, OP. I am both honored and delighted to have this Wonderful addition to my wardrobe!
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warm & lacey

I finished my Lacey Baktus scarf last night. Not sure why the design is called "lacey" other than the fact that technically it is knitted lace; to me this is more of a wonderfully textured but tidy pattern of holes (when I think of "lacey" I think of ruffles and frills and the kind of awful scratchy lace on little-girl petticoats)

Anyone wanting a really simple easy to memorise pattern for a scarf would do well to try this one, it's all knit in garter stitch, with only one row of "yo-k2tog" every eighth row. The yarn is lovely, soft and warm and just drapey enough, and the color is
a dusty blue-grey, a good match for my eyes. I like this one a lot. Spring is coming, so probably no more scarf/shawl knitting this season; I'll need to find something else to do with my "transit time".... oh, right, there is still the pair of chocolate colored wrist-warmers to finish...

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Crafternoon delight - stampcarving

Yesterday I started on a re-do for my sewing business cards, which are nice, but a bit "thin" graphically... the new cards will be based on a hand carved stamp, the same design, but more substantial. I haven't done any stamp carving in a long time, it is a fun and relatively quick process; with minimal tools and materials you can print on paper or fabric. (I have taught this as a workshop; unlike cloisonne, it doesn't take a whole weekend, it makes a good 4 hour class) I have a big wall hanging that has a painted image based on my SCA heraldry in the center, and the whole background is stamped with a repeating design of... acorns (what did you expect?).

I've been trying out a new-to-me tool, the "fingertip control craft knife"... So far I'm liking it very much, not to replace the regular exacto knife for everything, but it is very comfortable to hold, with significantly less stress on the hand. I'd seen pens with that style of grip too, and am curious how they would be to write with.

Even very simple designs are suitable for adding a subtle pattern to fabric, I love having something original to work with in my home. This might be the answer to the "I didn't buy quite enough fabric for my living room curtains". I could create something suitable for border fabric which would get that project out of the stacks of fabric, and onto the living room windows where it belongs. More thought is necessary, but that project has been stalled for three years - I couldn't find fabric that worked with the color and "feel" of the woodgrain jacquard linen that I already have - I'm thinking that somewhere in my stash boxes some other linen could maybe be "encouraged" to participate. I know, I know, I have clothing that needs sewn up first, but later this year, the curtains could be finished, 'specially now that I have that wonderful serger...
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Lookit what I found online! a paper floor! Do you think that Acorn Cottage needs could have a paper floor in the part of the house I don't have flooring for? Would take less many years to save up for than getting another batch of flooring... Have I lost what little mind I have remaining? Tune in tomorrow, or stop by on Sunday for a Crafternoon Teaparty ...
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I decided that the thing to do with the Magic Card, was to restock on some kitcheny basics, and to top up my empty fridge for meals this tenday. I bought a liter of olive oil, and a pound of butter, five pounds of flour, and a two pound brick of Tillamook. Cabbage and onions, carrots and a stalk of celery, a half pound of stew beef, a sweet potato... my whole shopping list was like that. Add in the eggs from the Speckeldy Sisters and life in the kitchen is not too bad. Soon I will take the tomatoes (that were unearthed below things in the chest freezer) and turn them into canned tomato puree, which will help to fill the pantry. Thinking about possibly a few jars of ketchup as a condiment. This canning thing is fun, as long as it is in small batches...the difficulty being that most ketchup recipes are for vast quantities.
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There were some older, interestingly squarish, (but still suitable for modern seals,) Kerr jars at the Goodwill, without a price tag. Turns out that the only canning jars with prices are the fancy "antique" ones, all the rest are only 29¢ ...I'm going to continue keeping my eyes peeled, as it would make more sense to gradually build the jar collection that way. I only want to have jars that are easily washed. I don't understand why anyone would prefer the narrow-mouth jars.
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Lots of time on the bus, and in waiting rooms this past week; my Lacey Baktus - "Stratus" is coming along nicely, hooray for garter stitch and yarnovers! The gifted blue-grey yarn is just the color of really well worn jeans, or actually close to the color of my faded blue eyes; it's a silk-wool blend, and is so soft, yet really easy to knit with. (thank you Vikki) Is there any way to predict which skinny yarns will behave well, not being all splitty and unpleasant to knit? Some plied yarn is definitely nicer to work with than others...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

random Tuesday tidbits

The air, when it isn't raining, has a sweet and tender scent of the earth warming, and when I walk under the early blooming cherry trees I can smell the spring coming.

The ornamental plum in the front yard is beginning to bloom. Though I had to spend the lovely warm days we just had indoors, rather than in the yard where I wished to be, there will be time soon. It isn't really spring yet, but almost...
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I finished doing my taxes (yay!) quite a bit earlier in the year than I usually manage to finish. This is good. As a result of this, look for a "March Madness" sale in the next few weeks. I have random older stock, both regalia and decorative, that will be on sale for a significant discount. I will not be discounting future works, but would really like to find new homes for things already made, and thereby give my spirit and creativity some breathing room.

I will once again be offering enameling workshops, starting in March. Also Open Studio will resume as well. If anyone wants more details ( ie dates, times and prices) just ask...
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This morning I put on my big girl panties and went to the DHS office to apply for food assistance; I was pleased to find that not only did I have enough documentation in hand, but that they were able to see me later that day. I now have a magic refillable plastic card, that will allow me to buy not only healthy food, but also "seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat " This will help, a lot. The people working in the office were cheerful and helpful, which really made the process relatively painless. (a huge contrast to my only other experience, which was years ago, on another coast, and another story entirely)
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I found that the complete issues of The Craftsman, from Vol. I, No.1(October 1901)through Vol. XXXI, No.3(December 1916) are all available online to study. What an amazing resource, for anyone interested in Arts and Crafts era design and lifestyle. The site is the University of Wisconsin Digital Collections and I have no idea what other gems are "hidden" in there...
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I've started making a bit of progress on sewing new clothing, and finished sewing a soft rayon knit top I'd cut out weeks ago. I needed to allow myself some bit of handcraft amongst the pushing myself to do difficult things. It keeps the balance...

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Split-cowl top...suitable for wearing under wintertime jumpers, or with the knitted vest
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Monday, February 22, 2010

Media Monday

with one red line...

Saturday, February 20, 2010

brought to you by the letter "A"...

Hi, my name is Alison and I am Atypical... I went to urgent care this morning, and the doctor is not sure what is up with my poor Arm. So I now get to take Antihistamines, just in case it is an Allergic reaction, And I get to take heavy duty Antibiotics, just in case it is cellulitis... Really my symptoms fit neither of those options clearly, which the only typical thing about me...

On a brighter note, I came home from med-land to find another small unexpected package! This has really been the season for unexpected gifts, my sister sent me a book gift that arrived yesterday, and today was a parcel from Salley Mavor herself (guest judge for the Felt Smackdown, and illustrator extraordinaire!) Inside were an Assortment of her cards; I'll be wanting to send them to friends, but also probably keep some to frame. It means so much to me to have another Artist who I admire so much send me a letter appreciating my efforts.

For some reason earlier this week I ended up looking online for an old friend, who I might have located - email query still out there - which brought my memory around to an old favorite Author that we both enjoyed once upon a time: John Crowley... I first read Engine Summer in 1979, the year it was first published, and it remains my favorite of his works. Though it is not his most popular tale, for me it has the very flavor of poetic psychedelic reality in a future story context, and I have not yet tired of re-reading it...
Apparently there will be a grand 25th Anniversary re-issuing of his popular little,Big. The new edition will be spectacularly illustrated by an Artist Peter Milton who I've not previously seen, but whose mysteriously beautiful artwork seems ideally suited. There is an entire website dedicated to the new edition, and it is fascinating reading, if, like me, you delight in finding out the backstorey and the thoughtcraft that goes into suchlike...


Apparently KnitPicks is looking for a web designer...what they need is beyond my meager techie ability, but maybe someone I know might find it just the thing...


I do feel a bit of relief to not be ignoring something that might cause me to die of stupidity™, so a big thankyou to my friends who chivvied me into seeking a bit of medical Advice. Of course, now I must fill out all the paperwork to apply for financial assistance to pay for said short visit to med-land, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that will work. And since the next big task is all about the paperwork anyway, I guess it is time to dig out the kitchen timer that goes "ding". Taxes need doing even more than the garden needs worked on. And I'll need the taxes for the med paperwork, and for the water bureau paperwork, and because I will be applying for food stamps... (I know I shouldn't feel so shameful, almost 20% of Oregonians are on food assistance, but it still hurts to realise I need to apply)

Friday, February 19, 2010

whimper and whinge

Mind you, I realise that this is such a first world kind of grumble...

Monday night, at the free clinic, I had the pneumonia vaccine, in the well-padded back of my arm up near the shoulder. No big deal, right...that's what I thought...

Tuesday my arm was sore, and there was a bit of a red spot, about the size of a quarter. By evening it was so sore that sleeping was difficult; too cold here to sleep with my arm outside the covers, but even the touch of the sheet was painful.

Wednesday moving the arm, or the touch of clothing was not a good idea, but I went to work anyway. Should have realised something was off when I fell asleep on the bus. After meeting V for lunch after work, I went home and went back to sleep in the middle of the day. Woke up feeling even worse, wasn't sure if it was 5 PM or 5 AM. The arm much more advanced inflammation-wise, and I stumbled to the medicine cupboard to find the thermometer - 101.3F. I guess I'm special, only 1% of the tested subjects get fever...

Thursday the fever is somewhat only a little bit lower. I took this picture* in the morning; its damnably hard to photograph you own arm. By evening, the inflammation has continued to spread all the way to the elbow joint.

Friday the fever is down to 99+, and the swollen inflammation continues to expand the area conquered past the elbow joint; bending the elbow is painful now, but still possible. It reminds me quite a bit of the dread spinach wasp incident, but in reverse. Fortunately. Kind of like whatever poison in the vaccine that I am reacting to is trickling down the inside of my arm. Obviously, I think I should not get any followup doses of this one. And I really wish that I did have insurance, so as to find out what perzaktly is causing this; I'm wondering if it is a reaction to one of the chemicals(possibly thimerosal) in the vaccine ... I imagine that I will probably need various other vaccinations during the remainder of my life, and this kind of reaction is rather alarming.

So I've been pretty dang whupped this week, and doing as much sleeping as I can manage, in between working... yeah, fell asleep on the bus again (coming home this time) ended up in St Johns, so not too difficult to get back home again...I guess it is worth it, since if I did get pneumonia I'd be in a world of grief without insurance, but this is No Fun At All

If you want to see what my arm looked like on Thursday, though you probably don't... its a lot worse now...

Monday, February 15, 2010

just a peek + Media Monday

A reminder that doing anything is possible, with effort applied in a thoughtful way:

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Roman shades almost finished...down to the handwork parts now, sewing on the rings, cutting the wooden reinforcements, attaching the hardware. Hopefully this week I'll go out to the site and deliver these (don't know if they want me to install them also)
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I've two small knitting handwork projects, some wristwarmers, and a Lacey Baktus; both are small enough to make easy bus knitting.
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~ : ♥ : ~

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Tigress Can Jam - carroty sweetness

The CanJam food for February is carrots, and it is still too cold to leave the windows open. While I'd be willing to try pickling, and am surely going to have many opportunities this year, I'd rather not fill Acorn Cottage with the scent of boiling vinegar. I'm not much of a pickle-eater, so I wondered if maybe there was some other kind of thing I could make from carrots that didn't need pressure canned...
How about jam?!?
well maybe not this jam...

After a lot of online searching, a visit to the World Carrot Museum, and some time in the preserving section of the cookbook aisles at Powells, I came up with two possibilities, both from the current edition of the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

My first attempt was a carrot marmalade. In the book it is listed as "Morning Cheer Marmalade" (p.101). I followed the recipe fairly closely, only adding a bit of nutmeg and saffron to the spices, and rather than adding Scotch whiskey as a final flavoring, I added two teaspoons of orange flower water. My idea was to push the flavoring more in the direction of India and the Near East, since last month gave my larder quite a few jars of more "traditional" marmalade. I also cut the recipe in half, and where there were quantities that were difficult to halve, I "rounded up" in favor of the more acidic ingredients. (half of five oranges - three; half the tart apple - just use the whole apple, okay)

Celestial Carrot Marmalade
1/4 t whole allspice
3" piece stick cinnamon, broken to pieces
a few small chunks of nutmeg, about 1/8 t
3 oranges
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and grated
2 c finely grated carrots
3/4 c water
1 good pinch of saffron
2 c sugar
1/4 c bottled lemon juice
2 t orange flower water
Put the spices in a muslin bag. I've some that were originally intended for brewing tea, but they are very useful in the preserving kettle, I also put all the seeds from the oranges in one (orange seeds are full of pectin). Then peeled the oranges, trying for mostly the orange part, and slivered the orange peel into tiny shreds. Cut away the white part of the oranges, then cut the segments free from their membrane. I did this over a flexible cutting board and was able to easily pour the excess juice into the pan with the other ingredients (carrots, apple, water, and spices). At this point it was really late at night, so I put it all in the fridge till the next day...

Bring it all to a boil, and cook gently for about 15 minutes, then add in the lemon juice, and the sugar (and the saffron). Start to boil it hard at this point, and I also took out the spices and the bag of seeds, since it would be inconvenient to have them catching on the stirring spoon. The mixture is smelling wonderful now. Boiled hard for over thirty minutes before there was any sign of it becoming anything other than tasty shreds in syrup. (usual test on frozen saucer). Once it seemed ready, turned off the burner, stirred in the orange flower water, and ladled into the prepared jars. Processed for 10 minutes as per the recipe - makes three 8 oz jars + a few spoonfuls (Note: flavor is superb and not noticeably "carroty", texture is very sticky, more like candied fruit than what I think of as marmalade...)
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Carrot Cake Conserve on left,
Celestial Carrot Marmalade on right

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The other one, from the same book, is "Carrot Cake Jam" (p. 39). The mere mention of this jam had a very positive response from a great variety of my friends and acquaintances, so... Once again a half recipe, and the only changes I made were to not include cloves (I think cloves are nasty)and to use Pomonas Universal Pectin which allowed me to reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe from 3 1/4 c to 2 c.

Carrot Cake Conserve*
3/4 c finely grated carrots
3/4 c chopped cored peeled pears
1 c canned pineapple, including juice
1 1/2 T canned lemon juice
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
added pectin, 2 1/2 t + 1 t calcium water
2 c sugar
1/3 c chopped pecans
Mix powdered pectin completely in with the sugar. Put everything (fruits and juices, spices, and calcium water) except pectin/sugar and pecans in a good sized pan and bring to a boil. cook for five minutes, or until pear bits are softened. Stir in pectin/sugar and boil, stirring constantly till clear and thickened about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in pecans and ladle int the prepared jars. Processed for 10 minutes - makes four 8 oz jars. (Note: if I make this one again I'll try using less of the added pectin, as this quantity makes a very firm set. This was my first attempt using added pectin, and there is a bit of a learning curve. I'm thinking that this recipe might also be good with a lot less added sugar, perhaps mixed with applesauce instead...)

I brought a jar of this to a potluck last week, to spread on the top of a plain vanilla home-baked sponge cake, served with some unsweetened whipped cream alongside. Rave reviews and a demand that I "make more jam"...


* as far as I can tell, a conserve is a more "texture-y" kind of preserve, with dried fruit, or nuts, added.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

I am not a cat...

Really, if I worked in a fabric store, (instead of as a seamstress for hire and enamel artisan), I would make certain that the Velcro, if purchased, either had the fluffy side and the burry side stuck together neatly , or wrapped them separately. I can only imagine that the clerk* was either (#1) truly clueless, (#2) impossibly harried, or (#3) actively malicious, to shove five yards of Velcro into a small bag randomly... just saying...

I'm taking a break after spending far too much time and not yet finished untangling this:
nasty ball-o-Velcro, atop almost finished Roman Shade project

* and since these supplies were not bought at the Evil Empire, I'm betting on #1

Friday, February 12, 2010

sunshine daydream giveaway

While truly, I'm grateful for living where I mostly don't have to deal with snow, the dark grey sky makes it seem like winter will never be over. Even ordinary chores seem to take longer, and the ease of summer feels like a sunshine daydream (okay well maybe not that kind)...
Still, the sun is returning, each day the evening dark comes just a little later, and soon there will be dry breezy days; I'm surely not the only one who likes to hang my laundry outside to dry on the line. My dear friend Rois is having a giveaway over at Hrafinstaad, she's made a colorful and useful, beautiful clothespin bag that will be perfect for adding a bit of a smile to that necessary task. All you need to do to be entered in the drawing for the giveaway is to leave a comment on her blog. And while you are there, do check out what she has to say about the various aspects about urban homesteading; she has a lot of good commonsense information, as she has been doing it pretty much her whole life. She is one of my inspirational mentors as well as a good friend.
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This just in: my entry was voted #1 in the Kenleigh's Fiber Felted sheep contest! a big grin for Little Bo Peep and her sheep, and a huge thank you for all the folks who voted... The kit that Shannon provided for the contest was wonderful, and the wool fleece was the nicest I've ever worked with for needlefelting.
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Started a new knitting project for riding on the bus, a pair of wristlets to take the place of the pair lost this winter. The pattern is called Voodoo Wristwarmers, and is dirt simple; there is a lot of the chocolate color wool leftover from the unraveled merino Goodwill sweater, and it is both wonderfully soft and about six ply, so it should have a bit of wear left in it. This project is a chance to try out the "magic loop" technique that I'd been wanting to learn, on something easy. My friend Sam gifted me with a clever instructional book, and it looks to be just the thing for not losing your needles; I'd been doing small round knitting in the traditional many double pointed needle method, which is fine by the (virtual fireside) at home, but not so much fun when your needle drops to the filthy floor on the bus and rolls out of sight. This new-to-me method is much more secure, and just as easy; I expect that if you were just learning, it would be much easier than the "traditional" method.
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Took the test for the US Census today, and same as ten years ago got a 100 score - of course that doesn't correlate with getting a job, but it means that I don't need to schedule any re-tests. (Fortunately I enjoy taking those sorts of tests, don't know why; I took lots of them as a young thing, since every time I changed schools I had to be re-tested, and we moved a lot back then.) It sure would be good to get a temporary job this spring, right around tax time any little bit comes in handy...
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For anyone who's got a full piggybank and likes incredible guitar playing, Richard Thompson is going to be at the Alladin Theater (Monday through Wednesday next week) Should be well worth seeing, I wish I was going...

1952 Vincent Black Lightning

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Crafternoon Delight

I've been beavering away on a big window treatment commission - three big Roman shades, interlined with blackout cloth. This has of necessity put my own personal sewing, and all the housey-projects on hold for a while.

I did take a partial day off yesterday afternoon. My friends Vandy and Molly have started getting together on Wednesday afternoons, and invited me to join in; since Molly lives on the next block, this is a delightful treat, to be able to walk over rather than the usual bus for an hour to visit folks. Much textile fun of various kinds happened, a lot of it involving wool. Though I simply used the time to re-draft the twist front top pattern, and to draft and cut out all the pieces for the grey tunic, Vandy learned to use the spinning wheel, and card wool. There was also a "lets dye this mass of fleece a gorgeous tangerine orange color", and Molly did quite a bit of work on her Navajo rug weaving. All in all, a great afternoon, the plan is to do it again in two weeks. Really nothing would make me happier!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

need a smile? (more media)



I've been working on the Roman Shades project all day, with short breaks. These are a bit different, with a room darkening interlining, which makes sewing a bit like wrestling with layers of ancient rubbery raincoat. Ah well, more than half done finally, I'll be glad to see the end of this one.

The wee tape deck I borrowed decided that since it was so very old, that It didn't want to come to a new home after all, and the motor stopped working. Alas, I guess it is back to square 1.5 on that one. I have a ancient boom-box tape recorder, well not so ancient, I bought it from RealGoods back in 1990, before my ill-fated excursion to Idaho, since I needed to have something that would work on 12 volt or AC. It has a microphone port, but any auxiliary equipment has long been lost in the intervening decades. So I'm still looking for a simple recorder, or possibly something to work with my current archaic technology.

This morning's breakfast was particularly nice, and healthy. I've been trying to find various winter breakfast options that are greens plus protein (that I like), and that aren't super complicated. Half a single bacon strip cut into dice and cooked slowly, then half a bunch of black kale chopped small dropped into the same pan. Since the bacon is always chosen with an eye for mostly lean meat, there was almost no fat in the pan, I had to add some water to let the kale steam for a while. Once it was suitably softened, it went into a big pottery bowl, then about a half cup of cottage cheese, and a modest amount of sweet chili sauce for garnish. I'd been thinking about Ethiopian greens, and this, while spiced very differently, started the day off well.

Monday, February 8, 2010

sheepily voting and sweetly nibbling + media Monday

The pictures are up of all the entries in the "sheep" Felting challenge. Unlike the Wee Felt Folk contest, which was judged, this one is decided by votes. If you are interested in seeing all the entries, and choosing one to vote for, you can go look at either Kenleighs Fiber Studio or at Stories from the Farm.

This weekend I made good progress on my few remaining commissions, with only the Roman Shade project still unfinished. Big sewing projects would be easier if I had a banquet table to lay the fabric out on, but where in tiny Acorn Cottage could I even set up such a thing? (probably that is why some folks rent studios).

I've been working on my entries in this months CanJam, (the month of "carrot") and the jams I've made so far are surprisingly tasty. I've not done anything quite this creative with the orange vegetable...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

an assortment of small delights...


I finished the knitted octopus! Inspired by the delightful Ariadne, who knitted one as a giftie for tiny newborn Clover, this was a fast but challenging knit. If I could knit for more than a very short while at a time, it would be a one day project. Meet Kalli Marakia...

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Yesterday there were two packages on my doorstep when I returned home from work. There were two turtleneck shirts in a bag hanging from the doorknob, gifted by my friend Brenna. Since winter isn't quite over yet, they'll be very welcome. The other parcel was from one of my blogland acquaintances Abby. She's an artist who lives in Massachusetts, not far from where I grew up. She makes wonderful textile sculptures and writes about her work and life in While She Naps. I was able to send her some information from my vast collection of Threads magazines, and she sent me a sweet thankyou card, some pictures of her work, and a wonderful piece of Japanese fabric in a deep red, allover printed with small clamshell shapes with folk-art animals. Upon closer inspection, they are the twelve different animals of the oriental zodiac. Truly a perfect textile tidbit for Acorn Cottage!
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And this news just in today... my entry in the Felt Smackdown has won first place! Given the high quality of many of the entries, I wouldn't have wanted to be the one making the decisions... fortunately the judging was done by Salley Mavor herself, the author of Wee Felt Folk and an incredible talented artist and illustrator. I feel very honored that she chose my submission.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Thursday tidbit

As there were two challenges running concurrently, I was decided to create a scene that was inspired by a nursery rhyme. Here is my completed entry for the Kenleigh Fiber Studio needlefelted sheep challenge. I, being a contrary and determined sort, made two sheep from the fleece intended for one. (since two sheep were needed for my idea to work) Bigger sheep is 2¼" tall, small sheep is 1".

I also figured out how to combine two photographs in one image, which was far easier than my initial idea of building a diorama.

I've been busy this week finishing up various jobs of commissioned sewing, so this has been a bit of a fun diversion in the evenings.

And if the weather keeps on being so warm, it will soon be time to start on the vegetable garden for this year. There are snowdrops at the end of the front walk, and some kind of bulbs, maybe tulips? that are coming up next to the cyclamen.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Media Monday - the last thing each night

I've made a little ritual of listening to this before putting the house to bed each night...
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A splendidly crowded teaparty yesterday, I had to bring in some extra chairs! This week is shaping up to be Very Busy, hopefully in a good way, so I'll be taking a break from writing here till Friday...