Friday, December 30, 2011
It has been worky-week here at Acorn Cottage, my schedule is one intense week alternating with one household week, and this week had me out of the house working on all five days. Am spending a goodly chunk of every day on the phone dealing with med-foo, and a goodly chunk of most evenings in the workroom. In the midst of all this, dear Gryphon came down here, to help me get new shelves on the wall above the futon couch.
Such projects are ever-so-much easier with more than one set of hands, and over the course of the two days, the pieces of cut plywood from last weekend had their corners rounded, a trip to the big orange box garnered more brackets, and now there is space for a lot more of my fabrics to have a home. I've been thinking (when not totally freaked) of what will help with my convalescence; I want the bedroom to be serene, which it certainly is not right now, and I really want to get the guest room/sewing room into a more organised state as well. While the shelving will not solve that, getting the fabric more condensed will make it possible to figure out what all else is in there...
Monday, December 26, 2011
My thought was that it was some sort of fungal growth, since the long fuzzy bits were well over an inch long, and the fuzzy-fur stuff was all along the raw wood. But when we touched a bit of it, it disappeared!
Was hoarfrost, and somehow the weather conditions were such that the moisture being squeezed out of the pores in the wood was able to form these long shaggy patches. The world is full of remarkable things, if only we pay attention...
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Another wonderful gift, from my Sekrit Santa pal (actually opening this one early, but I am so grateful for the "looking-forward-ness" of it - HRM Dagmaer gifted me with a certificate for a new baby apple tree! The words she sent brought tears to my eyes. There will be, as the luck holds, many more years ahead, for the tree to grow and bear apples and for me to care for it and enjoy the harvest. Shall be hard to choose which variety to bring home to Acorn Cottage...
a bit of animated whimsey...
...and a couple of holiday tunes
Old Hippie Christmas - Bellamy Brothers
Jingle Bells - Jerry Garcia
I am finding Rima's "Wayfarers Nativity" so very appealing, something about the light on the snow, the folk all working together, just speaks to me. I have been reading her blog The Hermitage for several years, and there are so many many artists living in that little corner of the world, Terry Windling is a neighbor there too...
Wouldn't you like to read about fierce candy cane-eating outlaw girls."? *
dog is restless
will not sleep
*"A Crow Girls Christmas" - by Charles de Lint & MaryAnn Harris
Saturday, December 24, 2011
I have for many many years been a great fan of the woodcut artist Mary Azarian, her life and art are an inspiration to me. Scattered about Acorn Cottage are small bits cut and colored from one of her sale catalogs from long ago; the chore angels that hang above my kitchen window my kitchen are hers, and Snowflake Bentley is on my shelves of childrens books.
An surprise visit from B & R this evening found me in the living room with a large flat parcel wrapped in newsprint and tape, which when uncovered turned out to be this:
My happy noise* on seeing this came as quite the shock to my pals, as R had chosen the gift as something she thought would be a lovely addition to my home, not realised that I never expected to own one of the actual hand-colored woodcuts, or even that I was a particular fan of the artist... the print is quite large, at about 18 x 11, and I will be wanting to re-frame it in a solid frame, as I plan on hanging it in the kitchen. I am filled with humble gratitude at the knowledgeable generosity of my pals.
*"I knew it would be good, but I didn't know it would be that good..." (the words of my dear friend R, after being subjected to my loud squee of delight)
The Cornish Wassail
dog is resting now
Friday, December 23, 2011
Not certain how much work will be able to fit into the time between now and the next bend in the path, but will be doing what I can. The studio has been sadly neglected for the last segment, and I am certain that by letting my hands back to work, that my heart will also find more peace. After all, the work of my hands is my legacy to the bright world, and the children that will live when I am long gone to dust. I so love to see the work of our ancestors, the glass colors still so bright, and the marks of those distant folks still visible in their makings; I like to think that the small things that come from my workroom may someday brighten the life of a future artisan.
The Boars Head Carol - Steeleye Span
Thursday, December 22, 2011
Solstice Bells ~ Jethro Tull
Home again home again I am, this has been a wonderful birthday week indeed. Took some very much needed time away to spend with my dear Gryphon, and have returned with more equanimity than I have had in weeks. Was a chance to spend time with good friends old and new, as well as an opportunity to have fun making Sudden Loud Noises (and thank you darling for the excellent and thoughtful birthday gift!) As is suitable for birthdays, there were chances to eat some very tasty food, and a chance visit to the menagerie at FjordsEnd included the very first time ever I'd been at table and served food on FIRE! Whiskey-flamed homemade halloumi is both impressive and delicious.
Once back at Acorn Cottage, there's a necessary stack of tasks and projects for the next three weeks longer than my arm, and bearing up under that will actually ease the time, useful busyness being a good antidote to my unlikely recent response of being immobilised and gibbering uselessly. After a muchness of rejuvenation and rest, there is studio work to be jumped back into, and a vast pile of fabric to be sorted through, there are shelves to be put up on the guestroom walls, to hold said fabric, and, and, and...
The knowledge is getting through to me that really-o truly-o I am cared about, that as I have been saying for long time now, I am so blessed with the love of both family-of-origin and family-of-choice, and that for almost a year now have been even more blessed to have a sweetheart who sees me clearly and loves me nonetheless. As I walk forward into the uncertain future, this certainty is what sustains me...
I Will Stand Fast ~ Fred Small
Thursday, December 15, 2011
I have made Icelandic Chicken a number of times, the small pies are very useful as pickup food when busy with other tasks, and the combination of chicken and bacon and sage is well loved by most folks of the carnivorous persuasion. In OlyWa, the enclosing crust was often a bread dough, as the local bakery sold convinient balls of frozen dough. Away from there, I find it easier to simply make up renaissance pie crust (piecrust with an egg yoke mixed in; adds flexible durability in forming, without making it tough) Up till now, I always made the crust with butter, but since New Seasons sells small tubs of their own rendered lard, I wanted to try it out in this application, having read that it makes for the best sort of pie crust...
Oh my word, it certainly does! If making standard piecrust (rather than the renaissance variety) it would be even more flaky, but the texture is noticeably
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Surgery is scheduled for January. I teeter between calm equanimity and a sort of gibbering numbness. Moving steadily forward with an eye to the past is my logo, is in many ways my way of life. Is somehow appropriate in this situation as well... This is not a journey I would have chosen to take. I long to have my former life back, where I had the amount of uncertainty that I was comfortable with, rather than this open-ended and exponentially increasing need to become at ease with not-knowing.
lookit what they can do with tiny waldos
~ ~ ~≈:::≈~ ~ ~
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”
dog is restless
will not sleep
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
In some ways this pattern is a kind of ur-pattern, that many of my jumpers over the years have wanted to be, or hearken back to...while I am no way now or ever or even back then a size 5, my pattern alteration/grading skill is hopefully equal to the task of upgrading the size to fit me. Will be a fun project, and will most likely become part of SWAP 2012. I am amused that my personal style has shown rather remarkable areas of consistency over forty years...
dog is on watch
Monday, December 12, 2011
Yesterday we had our gift sale, experimenting with having a one day sale on a Sunday... the good news is that we seem to have got out from under the "snow curse", and the weather was quite cooperative. But for a number of reasons, there was fairly modest traffic, and sales were not as good as in previous years. We are hoping to get together during the year to work on both planning and on creating more goods to sell; it is fun to craft in company at times. Next year we hope to have two sales on different weekends, one here and one in Wilsonville, and we also plan on starting a ManyHands Marketplace blog...
The other benefit of hosting the gift sale, is that preparatory to it requires really clearing out the living room of all the random boxes, and knitting bags of yarn, and stacks of inspiring magazines, and random detritus. So at the end, once everyone was packed up and the actual furnishings returned to their places, it looked ever-so-much better than before we turned it into a boutique. (though I do love how it looks all chock-a-block with gifty goodness) It is much more peaceful without all the partial projects hanging about, and am currently filled with a great desire to do the same thing to my bedroom!
It would be lovely to convalesce in a space that did not look like a mad textile rubbish tip; this probably means that MORE SHELVING is necessary. The most cost effective way to proceed will probably involve a trip to Mr Plywood, and the magic saw. "Brackets and boards, brackets and boards, I'm gonna get me some brackets and boards..."
As part of the decorating for the sale, added a new string of LED fairy lights to the front window, and then realised that the partially non-functioning original strand actually had spare tiny LED bulbs, so now the front porch windows are twice as sparkly. I also rearranged the mushrooms and the Dala horses that normally live up there, and moved the remaining frost sprites over there as well. Looks most merry midwinter-ish now, and the wintertime Dala horse ornament is now hanging from the oakleaf door knocker.
Tomorrow I meet with the new doctor, and hope to have some of the myriad questions answered, at least the ones that can be answered... This is being a definite lesson in maintaining calm in the face of uncertainty, and so far, is not an easy lesson at all; will be a continuing opportunity to practice equanimity (practice makes progress, sigh and alas)
dog is on watch
Saturday, December 10, 2011
Our annual gift sale is Sunday December 11th, do come and check out all the wonderful local handicrafted goodness, of which this is only a small sample...
Friday, December 9, 2011
I so enjoy doing these kinds of simple handwork projects; more than most anything else they are soothing and relaxing, taking just enough mental concentration to keep the mind from dwelling in less felicitous places. Moderately complicated knitting does the same thing, and I need to remember that I can knit again without pain, after not being able to for so long.
Maybe after the winter holidays I will gather up all the worsted weight yarn and start on a sweater. While an all one color cardigan would be more my style, it will be an interesting challenge to create something from all the myriad random single skeins. I'm thinking Philosophers Wool / Kaffe Fassett style patterning, as a very simple cardigan. Maybe see about running some of the patterning from side to side, which would give me more vertical lines rather than horizontal... Hmmm is pleasant to think about, which beats the alternative.
My remaining two hens are doing okay, and there has been no sign of the return of the Monstrous Marsupial.
Have not started any sewing clothing for me yet, am still gathering Useful Fabrics together. This afternoon when talking to my mother, she mentioned clearing away extra sheets from her linen closet... "I can give them a good home", says I, immediately envisioning being able to create fitting muslins for some of the altered patterns I am hoping to use for SWAP this year.
I know this is really an advert, but it is terribly cute nonetheless
and should you want more info, here is the "making-of" video
dog is on watch
Thursday, December 8, 2011
I got home after dusk, and while putting groceries away, and starting to cook dinner, I heard a terrible bad racket in the yard, hen noises, which is never good... I'd not yet shut the hens in their house, and will be feeling horrible about that, for when I went out in the yard, there were two very freaked out hens... and in the chicken house was one very dead hen, and one very live possum! I was SO ANGRY! I tried banging on the side of the henhouse, and that made the possum angry, it opened its mouth full of big nasty teeth and hissed at me.
I called my friend Rois, and she asked her husband what to do - his suggestion, turn the hose on it. Well, I do not have a hose, so I took a bucket full of water and threw it at the possum, which made it mad, and wet, and made the chicken house all wet and gross on the inside. It still wouldn't leave, so I got a LONG metal tent pole, and poked at it till it ran out of the henhouse. Then I chased it around the yard like a madwoman. (now mind you, if I lived out in the countryside, instead of in the middle of Portland, there would have been an entirely different and much more final way of dealing with the situation)
So now I have two freaked out but sleepy hens in a cage in the backyard, and a chicken house that is full of soggy slightly dirty somewhat bloody bedding, with internal walls that look like the scene of a horror movie: "Marsupial Madhouse"... I was not going to try and deal with that in the middle of a cold December night, and fortunately my pals just got home from their trip and will help me tomorrow.
I know better than to say "how much worse can it get" but instead will say "I've had enough of this already, time for something good, something pleasant, something nifty for a change...
Monday, December 5, 2011
An unexpected day off from work, but with errands to run and phone calls to make, not to mention cats to sit, it looks like yet another day when
A new online friend has reminded me of the usefulness of the wishlist, that sometimes all it takes for wishes to come true is to ask....
Step OneGave this one a bit of thought, seems like most of what I wish for, that can be given, involves more the gift of time and the sharing of some resources, rather than actual stuff.
- Write a post (public, friends locked, filtered...whatever you're comfortable with). The post should contain your list of 10 holiday wishes. The wishes can be anything at all, from simple ("I'd love a custom icon that's just for me") to medium ("I wish for _____ on DVD") to really big ("All I want for Christmas is a new car/computer/house/TV.") The important thing is, make sure these wishes are things you really, truly want.
- If you wish for real life things (not fics or icons), make sure you include some sort of contact info in your post, whether it's your address or just your email address where Santa (or one of his elves) could get in touch with you.
- Also, make sure you post some version of these guidelines in your LJ so that the holiday joy will spread.
- Surf around your friendslist (or friends friends, or just random journals, or [info]holiday_wishes/[info]wish_list) to see who has posted their list. And now here's the important part:
You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday elf--to spread the joy. Gifts can be made anonymously or not--it's your call.
- If you see a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make someone's wish come true. Sometimes someone's trash is another's treasure, and if you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you won't use--or even know where you could get someone's dream purebred Basset Hound for free--do it.
There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just...wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.
- company while sorting/organising supplies - the sewing room, and the workroom both need attention, and I make much better progress with someone else there to keep me company, is a lot more fun to sort fabric etc with the option for tea and chat...
- garden beds built/load of garden soil & compost acquired - a truck with an open bed, or money for a dumptruck load, and a number of strong shovel wielding folks. I have a plan, just need helpers.
- debris hauled away - this involves someone with a truck, and help going all round the outdoors of the homeplace, to remove everything that needs to not live here
- massage - for many years I had an ongoing every other week massage trade, housecleaning for bodywork; I miss that. Even a modest amount of attention paid to sorting out the knots and such that have accumulated in the last six years would help me a lot
- bicycle maintenance and tuneup - I have no experience with how to care for my bike, having only fairly recently started riding again. Would love to learn more, and know that the useful tool of bicycle will be adjusted and cared for properly
- standard concrete block - in sets of four or six... why, 'cos I have a number of plastic barrels destined for rainwater collection, and they work a lot better if they are elevated. Concrete is damn heavy to cart home on the bus.
- wooden kitchen cart - to add additional counter space here, will make having more than one cook in the kitchen a lot easier. FORHOJA has drawers for storage
- install the hard flooring - this is a big project only because it involves removing the entire contents of each of the two bedrooms before the flooring can go down. Probably a weekend for each room, one day to move stuff out, one day to put flooring down and move stuff back in (just a guess, the rooms are pretty small, but there is a lot of stuff. Or...
- wooden shelves on the walls in bedroom and sewing room - more shelving will allow better storage of fabrics and other supplies, as well as guest bedding
- cross country train trip in a sleeper car - I want to visit my friends and family in New England, I love train travel, and it would be an adventure instead of an ordeal.
It seems perhaps foolish to buy the cheaper food if the hens will not eat it, I have no intention of feeding the wild birds, or worse... It might be also that a lesser quality of nutrition may be why they are taking so long to get their feathers back in from moulting. The question is, should I keep working through this mostly full bag of chicken chow, or go ahead and get a new bag of better food? If I do get new food, then what to do with the rest of the bag that they don't like?
Med-foo progresses fairly smoothly, the referral approval has happened already! and today a call from the NewDoc office to set up an appointment next week. This is all moving very fast. Not sure how I feel about that. 'Tis kinda scary, even if necessary. CrankyKnee™ is pretty cranky, since I tripped yesterday over my own feet and the edge of the carpet, and caught myself from falling by landing hard on that leg. Almost fainted, I think, everything got a little grey for a moment, and it hurt like the dickens!
Am thinking about a calendar for 2012 that is photographs rather than sketches, would cost more to print, but might be a fun change?? opinions anyone?
dog is on watch
Friday, December 2, 2011
Bit by bit, mostly while riding the bus, I've been working on my contribution to the artisans ornament swap. It's a bit informal, but several pals and I decided it would be fun to do this year - in fact, several of the same folks that will be part of the ManyHands Marketplace which will be happening here in two weeks. The handicraft is strong here; my little hands have been busy: skyblue wool felt, and DMC wool floss, and blue sequins, and eventually some multicolor blue-ish handspun, will be turned into ornamental horses, not for sale, but for gifting, for the fun of trading with other artists, to get other pretties to brighten the wintertime... Oh there will be things to buy, things for sale at our annual holiday market, but for these, I need not concern myself with how many hours it takes to make each one, just how much fun it is to embroider and embellish.
Saturday breakfast for four was a comestible success, I made aebleskiver! (described by one of my houseguests as "Norse frybread") I was inspired by this recipe posted by Bridget, and was very grateful that (rather than my last attempt at breakfast baking; ex-waffle-iron makes a better target than it ever did waffles) I actually have on my cookware shelves a lovely vintage cast iron aebleskiver pan, which my parents bought decades ago in Solvang, and which occasionally made the delectable spherical cakes when I was still a child. My mom sent it to me a while back, but I'd never used it for the intended purpose until now...
Once I figured out the right amount of butter to add to each indentation, the tasty toasty balls were no trouble to turn, and soon were on the table, along with an assortment of homemade jam. Was very tasty, especially with the meyer lemon and blood orange marmalade that was the January project that my sister and I made. Yay for a well stocked pantry, tasty food, and good friends!
Whist out and about this week, I suddenly remembered "paperwhites"! I stopped in at ink and peat, the shop of lovely artifacts and flowers, and sure enough, there were still a few bulbs left... If set up properly, they will bring a bit of flowery sweetness in midwinter, after only a relatively few weeks of waiting. I don't always remember every year, but the individual bulbs are not terribly spendy, being around a dollar and a half each, which is a pretty frugal bit of fun.
I first experimented in 2009 with adding alcohol to their water*, and now would not force paperwhites in plain water ever again, instead of long floppy foliage that tries to tip over, the small amount of alcohol seems to have a kind of homeopathic effect, the paperwhites no longer lean drunkenly tipsy, but stand solidly upright...
*1 part alcohol to 7 parts water, I have a small bottle of ordinary inexpensive local vodka used for various kinds of "science experiments" round the house...
dog is on watch
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
this a trailer, for a documentary in progress, about the band N.E.D.
dog is on watch
just a a wee bit of counterweight, here are some pictures of one of the current projects... We are planning on a holiday gift sale on December 11th, and I have done little to prepare for it. Indeed, have done little studio work at all in the last few weeks. My way of easing back in touch with my thingmaker self is often felt or stitchy-craft, and the idea for these pincushions was sparked by the lovely "TinyWorlds" that Mimi Kirchner makes. She even sells a pattern so folks can make their own, and teaches workshops at her home studio in Arlington MA. Her pincushions are incredibly detailed, and she uses all sorts of vintage teacups as a base...
Well, the only two vintage teacups here are well loved gifts from dear friends, but I did have a set of pretty egg cups, which are never used, since soft-boiled eggses are sooo not Fjorlief-food. They just seemed to ask to be made into little winter-worlds, and have turned out just the right kind of whimsical thing to sit on a sewing table, to be convenient. I've not yet finished sewing on the snowy "caps" to all the trees yet, and was amused by the progression from no snow, to all snow-covered...
Monday, November 28, 2011
I am not real happy right now, got test results back this afternoon, not what I'd hoped for. Kinda in shock, kinda resigned, kinda upset, kinda distracted. Tonight I lost my key ring with the keys to the house on it, between leaving the house to go cat-sit, and getting off the bus coming home. It was dark, and cold, and all the spare keys to Acorn Cottage are with various folks that live in other states. So I decided to backtrack my steps, and amazingly found the keys about a block off Lombard, in the street, about five miles from home. Yay for small miracles!
Now I get more hoops for jumping through, and an unknown different doctor, and a bunch more medical/surgical foo. I figured that the results were not good, when instead of a cheery call saying "all is well, see you at the post-surgery checkup in a week and a half", I got a message to call the doctor's office... and when I did, I sat on hold for over an hour... I think they forgot I was there.... then I finally talked with Dr D. She is a good doctor, and a pretty good communicator. (I hope that whoever I get sent to is not only a good doctor, but will be able to look me in the eyes and speak in a way I can comprehend, and will hear my concerns)
I guess it is good, that they did not find actual cancer cells, though I am aware that there is a broad continuum from normal and healthy, to obviously wrong, and my cells, at least the ones they looked at, are only kinda pretty badly messed up... (The big words are "complex hyperplasia with atypia" for those who know what that actually means) The recommendation is for a hysterectomy. I will know more once I talk to the new doctor, the gyno-oncologist...
This story of mine is starting to feel a bit like quicksand, that the further things go, the deeper and more dangerous it becomes, and the harder to get back to my
Hopefully in a few days I will have regained some semblance of equanimity...
lie the hills of home and the light of the morning
dog is awake
with hackles up
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Stood in the middle of the crosswalk to get this picture; reminds me a lot of the scene in Spirited Away, where Chihiro is running down through the town to try and get back to the known world, and all the lights come up as the sun goes down.
We met at Button Emporium, (they wanted to get hair ribbons for the kiddo), and then had dinner at Sushi Ichiban. We exchanged early wintertime holiday gifts too; their tin of home-dried fruit just might become part of a 12th Night fruitcake...
damnfool hens... last night went out to put them to bed, which involves shutting the weighted door to their house, to keep them safe all through the dark, 'till I open the door in the morning and they can roam the half-backyard that is their domain. As I've done ever since the time that Stupid Hen decided to not go to bed one night, I untoggled the back doors to "count beaks". WTF! there were NO hens in there!
A quick lookaround did not show any huge piles of feathers in the yard, which was good, but where were the speckldy sisters... Mind you, it is cold and dark and spitting drizzle, and the girls are moulting, so have large gaps in their feathers. Yay for tinybright LED flashlight, I found two hens by the edge of the leafmulch compost bin, and with much looking, found the third hen wedged between the arbovitae and the edge of the house, under the downspout extension. One at a time, I picked them up and stuffed them back in their house.
They are very odd birds indeed. The only thing I can think is that there might have been a hawk or coon watching the henhouse last night, and they hid themselves rather than head for bed, but usually if there is some predator about, they raise enough of a ruckus that I notice and go outside. Eventually I do want to give them some covered spaces for wintertime, but that involves both building more solid infrastructure, and spending extra dosh, (which is a bit thin on the ground this year, due to extended and unavoidable time spent not working).
Maybe can rig up something with the old sunshade; there is a forecast for gaps in the rain, and it might be possible to reconfigure the fencing to both confine the hens a bit more, and to add some windbreak to their zone. And, if there is a gap in the weather, it might be possible to actually get some of the leaves raked up from the front yard and dumped into the henyard. The years I've managed that, in the old henyard, made a big difference in the condition of the soil, dead leaves combined with hen action really adds condition to the soil, and the current henyard is destined to eventually become garden beds
On the maslin pan debacle*, the score is finally Fjorlief 1 - Carbon 0, but it was a very close call indeed. Tried: ammonia overnight, boiled with baking soda overnight, oven cleaner overnight TWICE, (all of these one at a time, mind you, there is a level of science experiment that I know better than to try without a fume hood) didn't work, then tried boiling mix of water and Ajax lemon dishes soap, and scraping with spatula while boiling, started to be able to at least scrape some tiny flakes of carbon off... 220 grit wet-or-dry silicon carbide paper, used repeatedly and alternating with more boiling dishes-soap water, seems to have done it, auto-body abrasives plus massive and ongoing application of "elbow grease"...
Still moving slower than usual, but decided to head into downtown to the Art Museum to see the exhibit of Japanese prints (thank you E, for the ticket). 'Twas crowded, and rather overwhelming, but there were in fact some real gems; Hokusai waterfalls, I'm thinking of you... Every time I have been to P.A.M. I enjoy looking at the William Morris "Artifact Wall" (not the William Morris from the Arts and Crafts era, but the contemporary one...) something about the hundreds of mysterious objects pinned to the two-story wall is fascinating.
"when they go blah blah blah, do you go baa baa baa..."
dog is turning around and around,
settling down to sleep
* the night before surgery, while I was rather obsessively filling out advanced directives and writing letters to my nearest and dearest, my sister G was rather obsessively cooking a triple batch of cranberry sauce. What can I say, we each react to stress in our own ways... well, somehow, in the midst of dealing with splashed sauce on the front of her sweater, in just a few minutes the sauce in the pan went from perfect to irretrievably scorched, and left a thick lumpy layer of carbonised sugar and cranberry fused to the bottom of my beloved maslin pan.
I saved for a year to get that pan, and it is not a luxury, is in use every week, almost every day. And I really wanted to find a way to salvage it, rather than just replace it, as sister G offered to do. 'Tis is spendy bit of kitchen hardware after all, and well made. New maslin pans are available from Lee Valley. If you are a tool junky like me, or love hardware, or like to garden, Lee Valley is dangerous. I have been a happy customer of theirs for many years, they often have oddball things that are not easily available otherwise. You have been warned...
Friday, November 25, 2011
Yesterday, when I was feeling rather puny, not up to heading out and about for a lot of social time, my most awesome Resiliency Ranger pals S and B decided to come over here to cook... and we had a thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat!
Alice's Restaurant was listened to (courtesy of YouTube), yet more sweet corn pancakes were nibbled, cranberry sauce was safely boiled up, and a delectable tiny turkey was baked. Fresh herbs from the front yard made for tasty basting, and in the middle of the day some unknown neighbor girls, all umbrella bedecked, asked S if they could pick some sage. Did you know that the front yard here has "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme"? There was a lesson in Yankee Piecrust, recipe courtesy of my longago friend C.N., and a flakey-cursted pun'kin pie was dessert, as we gathered round the electronic hearth for an episode of Firefly. All the dishes were washed, and leftover bits from dinner divvied up, including a small portion of mixed veg for the hens today
We made it happen, despite my wonky knee, despite the fact that the hob here at Acorn Cottage now has only two working burners (the large one stopped working on Tuesday) and despite not having worked in a kitchen together before. Yay us! While my dream home might have an actual fireplace, the warmth of true friends is what really lasts...
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Sunday was mostly prep for Monday (with a lot or writing of letters and advanced directives), and Monday was about half spent in hospital. If'n you really want to know about what that was like, ask me in person. When disrobing and packing away all my jewelry and talismans, I was reminded of the part of the story of Inanna, where she must remove all her garments and jewelry before entering the underworld...
I will say that it was actually interesting, in that I learned more about how I react to various situations. Am very grateful that I was not required to have sedation in addition to anaesthesia; I much prefer being a bit excessively chatty to being out of it - I was fully conscious up until the operating room, then went down into the dark, coming back up about an hour later.
Coming back was not really like waking from sleep, as some describe it, for I never awaken so totally relaxed; never awaken trying so strongly to be awake while constantly slipping back down into the darkness, was kind of like the opposite of normal awakening. On my usual awakening, I am propelled forward out of dreamland with a strong push, however much I might wish myself back to that land, whereas this was my own strong will pulling me towards the waking world, despite what felt like an intense gravity well of unknowing that would be easy to fall back into.
Grateful grateful to be back in the bright world I am...
Body is recovering well, only real discomfort is the sore throat from the intubation. Spirit/mind is much calmer, that was a big flame-covered hoop to be jumped through, and I did well. Only current hoop is not knowing the pathology results, but I am oddly calmer about that than I was about the anaesthsia. Weird, eh?
Sister left for home last night, after being of great help in the last four days. Yesterday morning I felt well enough to cook breakfast for her, making, rather recursively, Sister Gigi's Sweet Corn Cakes. While I like them with salsa verde, she wanted to try the jalapeno jelly I put up last fall. Tis one of the prettiest jellies in the pantry, and while not very spicy, was actually a perfect condiment for this...
I was feeling well enough by the end of yesterday, and getting a bit of cabin fever, so we headed out. Since the weather outside was intensely windy and dripping cold rain, it seemed appropriate for a little retail therapy - grocery shopping, and then a short trip to nearby Ikea, where we did a bit of information gathering in the kitchen area, since sister is going to repair/renew/remodel her fifty year old mostly wornout kitchen. She also decided to buy me a frame for the futon in the guest room. Having it up off the floor with certainly add to the comfort of the friends and family that sleep over at Acorn Cottage.
The Wheel - Jerry Garcia, 1972
dog is dozing,
hoping for ear skritches
Saturday, November 19, 2011
the not so good...
The reason that I was able to get my storyboard sketches all drawn and inked, was that I spent a big chunk of the day at Urgent Care, with, in the end, no conclusive results. I am still in
dog is all in a swivet,
barking at anything that moves
Friday, November 18, 2011
SWAP ideas are gradually taking form, time to get out the croquis and start sketching. Too dark tonight to take pictures of my sketches, that will have to wait till daylight
I intend to use my
The sort-of-new-this-time pattern will be pants. I have a pattern for bib overalls; for years now they were the only trouser-like garment in my wardrobe. I'd like to convert the pattern to just plain pants. Will be an interesting experiment.
I've no idea where I found this,
I'm going to call my pinafore/jumper a skirt. I often wear them in that fashion, in the wintertime when layers are a necessity, and worn with a tunic or overshirt, it looks like I'm wearing a skirt. (After all if Dragon Lady says bib overalls = pants, then it would seem to me that pinafore [could] = skirt) ... And speaking of skirts, Shams has cleverly figured out how to make a fascinating geometrical construct that is the most amazing twirly skirt I've seen. That just might need to be one of my new garments, I can imagine adding that as the bottom half of a pinafore jumper, and I have just the right lightweight plaid wool to do it with too! Whee!
* thank you wonderful hive-mind of SG, Lisanne posted a link to where this pattern can be purchased. (And now I know, the pattern company is from Denmark) I shall still go ahead and generate my own version, since it seems really simple, but looking through their patterns will be inspiring anyway. A lot of the patterns on their site seem to be combinations of garments that all work together, in the same way that SWAP is intended to function... Hmmm....
dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Tonight my tasks are to make more progress in the advanced directive workbook, and write some necessary letters. For fun, I'm going to do some quick design sketches for a SWAP storyboard, and then photograph them so as to be able to transfer the images into digital form. Am delighted that V has already posted her sketches and ideas; mustn't be too slow about getting mine up there too!
Wish book came yesterday, the Christmas 2001 gift catalog from Lee Valley. It would be really easy for me to find something useful and desirable on pretty much any page in there, (well probably not the woodturning tools, or the childrens toys, but other than that...) Of course, after the last night, maybe a catalog from One Green World, or Raintree would be welcome.
There was a gap in the wind and rain this morning, so I took advantage and used the time to clear out the henhouse floor, and give the girls fresh wood shavings. They are still moulting! The inside of their house was covered in a layer of feathers, like a tweedy carpet. Hopefully by the time all the new feathers are grown in they will be warm for the winter; I really miss having fresh eggs though. Did a tiny bit more in the backyard, tipped over the composter and moved the framework to the top of the driveway in front. I know, 'tis not on the earth as would be ideal, but is in a very convenient spot for yard debris from the front yard. I would have also moved the smallish heap of remaining compost in the backyard, but it was starting to really rain by then, and our plucky heroine was finding that cranky-knee was really wanting to stop now! Still, it feels really good to make progress, even if it is so slow. There is always more to do than lifetime to do it in...
Actually, the last week my cranky knee has been really degrading in function, to the point of not really wanting to be walked on, waking me up from sleep if I move it, limping when walking... While knees are not only delicate joints, but one of my particular banes, I am also wondering what part of this current flareup is related to my upcoming surgery. I am stubbornly moving forward despite how I feel. Only 3+ days now... Have long known that I store tension about "standing my ground" in the backs of my legs, all kinds of odd stuff comes up if massage therapy manages to loosen anything up there (Oh how I miss getting regular massage, has been years now since that was a part of life, but kept me healthy for a long time). Feels a bit like my strong will is moving forward but my body is saying no. And am not allowed aspirin, due to upcoming surgery; tried acetaminophen but it is not doing much of anything. Really wish that I could shift my feelings to confident acceptance, (anticipation would really be asking too much), but this sense of fatalistic dread is so not helpful. Of course, there could actually be something wrong with my knee, and if it continues at this level of pain after Monday, I intend to get it looked at. Sometimes I feel like a bit like the one-hoss-shay, I hope my warranty is not expired!
But enough with the whinging already... there is still a lot of beauty all around the world. Whilst rambling round, found this most lovely evocative little animated film - take ten minutes and enjoy it...
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The wind is howling round the corners of Acorn Cottage tonight, and if there was some way to hook up a generator to the ventilation turbines on the rooftop, there would be power to spare. Gratefully, the forecast for snow tomorrow seems to have shifted to wind instead, it will still be cold, but the roads will be wet rather than icy. Nonetheless, 'tis probably time to dig out the yaktrax, and keep them handy...
If there is a break in the rain, gathering up all the fallen leaves will be a good garden task, as well as shifting the henyard fences to enclose a smaller area. The poor things really did not want to leave the tiny henhouse for the wet and windy yard. Would really like to offer them a roofed space, maybe by next winter; prior attempts made with tarps and tentage have not been really functional... For the last several winters I dumped the fallen leaves into the henyard, which really increased the depth of the soft upper layer of the soil. (The plan is to use that area next spring, and continue letting the girls destroy the grass and fertilise the future garden space.)
Tonight seems like a good night to make up a big kettle of soup. I save vegetable ends, and the bits rinsed from cooking meat pans, and chicken bones, all in tubs in the freezer, when full, they get cooked again into broth. I'm thinking a kind of scotch broth tonight, with some carrots and garlic, and if I can find some small bits of lamb to add, will be very hearty indeed. I like it with barley; is necessary to add only a very small amount, barley is very thickening.
Is rather heartening, after being away from Stitchers Guild for months and months now, on my tentative return, dipping my toes into the SWAP scene once again, I find that I am remembered, and welcomed back. There are so many ways that this electronic world is a good and useful place, allowing connection between folks that would be unlikely to meet in realtime, and strengthening connection between friends and family in faraway places. Community and communication both derive from the same root. To be able to use the internet is another thing that I never take for granted, like running water, or being dry and fed and safe, to notice all the ways that things are functioning well despite the stormclouds...
dog is bounding at the door
growling and barking
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
I am still really scared. Determined to move forward, yes, but I'm mightily strong-willed, and do not let fear stop me from doing what needs to be done. My stubborn will has been very helpful to me over the years, has allowed me keep a clear head in emergency situations, for which I am very grateful. Nonetheless, will be very very glad to be past all this medical-fu...
Still having a lot of fun with planning for future sewing, might have to indulge myself and make up a storyboard. Am wishing that I had some goodly lengths of knit fabric suitable for long sleeve tops, what I mostly have is smaller pieces, in the form of other salvaged garments to be refashioned. One resource that I am looking at for inspiration is Marcy Tilton's "T-Shirt Gallery" There are seven pages of examples and tutorials, well worth scrolling through. She is a master of artistic combining of fabrics, often with adding details with paint or silkscreen.
On a more lighthearted note, I've figured out a way to improve my ancient vintage microwave, which does not have a functioning turntable any more. I normally use a pyrex lid atop the glass inner tray to quick-bake eggshells before crushing them for hen-calcium supplement. Well, for some reason, when I put my bowl full of lunch* in there to warm, it somehow caused the lid to wobble a bit... aha! says she, that is significant... If quick-fingered, can give said bowl-o-lunch a spin, close the door, push the buttons, and it will keep spinning long enough to evenly warm the food. Simple pleasures for simple people.
*For the last few weeks, have been making up, to keep in fridge, either: a goodly quantity of mixed veggies,stir-fried to be mixed with random protein, or bulgar-feta-kale salad, or fish cakes. All of these are quick to reheat for lunches.
dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief
Sunday, November 13, 2011
While otherwise occupied, I managed to miss a new-to-me holiday Corduroy Appreciation Day, and the most extreme one of the century, being 11-11-11. Chosen days to "celebrate" are those in which the numeric form most closely resembles the wales of corduroy. Alas, while I am most terribly fond of corduroy for clothing, and was, no doubt wearing some that day (since almost all of my pinafore-jumpers are made of such), there is very little corduroy in my fabric stash, no pieces large enough to make any complete garment, just small amounts that could be used as edge bindings.
Have decided that whatever garment sewing will be happening this year, will be using fabric from the Giant Stash o' Doom, and thereby reduce somewhat the possibility of SABLE*. Without too much effort, was able to pull out this assortment of fabric, in my favorite colors, (look, I've branched out, I'm including brown!) that should work for SWAP 2012 (sewing eleven garments between December - April) and Winter 6PAC** (sewing six garments between November and January):
fabrics, from left to right: indigo denim, black/brown flannel, black/blue slinky, navy/brown/multi lawn, brown brushed twill, multi-blue knit, blue/black/brown wool, black polartec windblock, black/taupe wool, navy/black rayon, black denim
Lest it seem that I have gone off the deep end into seamstress insanity, I actually need new clothes; the drawback of having a small curated wardrobe is that things wear out! Am thinking about how much it will help to have some
*SABLE = Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy
**Winter 6PAC =
1 - winter coat or heavy jacket in a dark neutral
2 - overlayer top, jacket or cardigan in a neutral
3 - overlayer top, jacket or cardigan in a colour
4 - underlayer top in neutral
5 - underlayer top in colour
6 - trousers in neutral
Friday, November 11, 2011
"The fallen leaves that jewel the ground, they know the art of dying,
and leave with joy their glad gold hearts in scarlet shadows lying"...*
≈ : ♥ : ≈
My friend passed out of this life in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. His passing leaves a gap that cannot be filled, as does each one who leaves our world. We who remain do what we can to take up the slack, and comfort each other. Life is uncertain, but love abides.
* - from October Song, Incredible String Band, written by Robin Williamson, 1966;
YouTube version here performed by Bert Jansch
Thursday, November 10, 2011
When I left the hospital tonight Karen and other friends were with him. He looks like he is sleeping, and we have been told that he is not in pain. Karen asks that we pray for peace...
I pray for a peaceful transition for him, and for eventual peace for her heart as well, in some future time when the pain of his unexpected leavetaking is not all her world, and the memory of their joyful years together can lighten her grief.
I ask as well, that we all remember to tell our Dear Ones how very much they mean to us, and how very much we love them, because, sometimes, tomorrow does not come...
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide you all the way on.
The word “mottainai”, which means "waste nothing!" does not preclude beauty. This gauze textile (used as mosquito screening) is patched and repatched, and has an incredible functional beauty. There is much to appreciate in seeing and aesthetic of cherishing every bit of the available resource, rather than discarding what needs repair...there were so many beautiful textile artifacts, the product of japanese folk culture, in the exhibit ... I found the simple patchwork of these bags very appealing
the neckline of a jacket? with disc-shaped frogs, fastening with various loops and hooks. The worn place just to the right of the upper frog, is where the metal hook has left its mark...
We did not spend our entire visit inside the exhibit hall, for the garden was far too autumnal and vivid to resist...
Just outside the hall, somehow, the deep and abiding green only intensifies the red of the maple leaves. There is something lovely to see with every step along the pathways. There was a pergola carrying venerable wisteria, and looking up the trunk, all moss bedecked, seemed like another kind of path...as I so often notice, there is beauty to be found right at your feet... after looking up at the wisteria, I looked down to find this oh so japanese vignette. Wouldn't this make a beautiful design on a length of fabric for a kimono?in the big pond in the garden, koi of various colors drift above the fallen leaves...while in the formal garden, the raked ripples are also graced with fallen leaves
the soft November light glows through the laceleaf maple, while mushrooms large and small dapple the ground...Thank you Emily, for sharing the adventure, and for showing me the Thistle Elementals that live just a bit further down the hill from the garden...
dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief