Thursday, July 17, 2014

random Thursday thoughts

in which our plucky heroine does her best at bearing up under the heat and relentless sunshine...

I am a child of winter, and always have been. In consequence, finding ways to ameliorate the effects of the current heat wave have been taking most of my energy, what little remains after the heat has curled all tendrils into the corners of my home to take up residence. Would that there was some way to save it (in the pantry like summertime jam) for when it would be useful next winter. Instead, my sleep/wake times have been all deranged, as keeping the window fans running as late into the night as I can manage has been making a good deal of difference in the internal temperatures of home. One of my three window fans jumped off the sill last night, destroying it's plastic housing and fan blades with an astonishing loud clatter while I worked in the next room; it was the most flimsy and least effective of the crew, and will be replaced, hopefully, with a more sturdy rectangular box fan.

Siesta in the hottest part of the afternoon is, while unpleasant, needful... allowing time for working when it is cooler, though girl feels a little remorse at turning on the kiln at the same time as running the fans to cool the house. It would be much worse though, to run the kiln when the summer sun is doing what it loves best. Somehow, the commissions for enamel regalia do not come as often in the winter, when the kiln warmth is welcome, as they do during the summer tourney season...

completed Pel-Laurel medallion in a simple silver setting

Still, every bit of work is welcome, and this most recent enamel piece has come round right in the end, despite an unfortunate encounter with the cement shop floor earlier in the year. I got rattled by that, and put it aside for a time, needing though to finish it in time before Pennsic, where it will be gifted to a new owner. I am pretty happy with the resulting resurrected piece. The entire surface of the enamel had to be removed back to the engraved base and re-done, with all new wires and glass. This time I also added a bit of Limoges style painted enamel to shade the Laurel leaves, a subtle two tone green, just for extra beauty, as the person who commissioned it earlier this year has been Very Patient with me...

Have also started working on the enamels for the Orb upgrade commmission, though am still waiting for the confirmation letter and check to arrive. Have been assured by two different folks I trust that it has been awarded to our artistic team, and so feel that getting the enamels ready ahead of time is little risk. Besides, 'tis very useful to have more than one enameling piece to work on while the kiln is hot, so as to not waste the heat; there is a lot of downtime, waiting for pieces to be dry enough to fire, as there can be no moisture in the enamel when it goes in the kiln, lest the water vaporise and cause the powdered glass to jump where it is not wanted. By working on more than one piece at a time, one can be drying while the other(s) are having the next of many layers of enamel added to the surface.

enamels for Orb upgrade, in the colors of An Tir, in process

Unfortunately, sleeping through most of the the heat has meant being awake too late to ride my bike to the grocery store, which closes at eleven... while intending to go to store early early AM before sunshine makes that impossible, instead was necessary to ride bus to Post Office to mail out the pendant, and by the time I returned home, it was already hot and sunny. I want to get vinegar to make sekanjabin; Jen brought some to ATWW earlier this month and it made a huge difference in how comfortable we were, just that little bit of sweet/sour/herbal syrup added to the drinking water. I am thinking of diving down into the depths of the freezer for some of last years fruit, and making some berry sekanjabin. The original place I saw the recipe is in Cariadoc's Miscellany; recipe is about halfway down the page, but he mentions that it is actually from Claudia Roden's Middle Eastern cookbook, which I also own, so I will check there as well... I remember that that cookbook has a number of different flavored syrups to add to water.

I discovered that there are paper wasps building a nest in a large plastic box that I left in the backyard... now I cannot go out in that part of the yard or access my garden shed until I find someone to spray the nest so the box can be removed, or until I come up with an alternate plan... I am mucho allergic... feel really dumb to have left them such a nice sheltered potential home! The beekeepers association is not interested in dealing with or gathering wasps, I was quoted a fee of $80 to have them removed by the one person I spoke with, which while not unreasonable, is not in my current budget. So I am practicing avoidance, and dreaming wishfully of insectivore raccoons.

Once the threads were all spread out properly (after about twelve picks) the pattern quickly began to take shape...
The success of my first attempt at wool tablet weaving with irregular turns had me so chuffed that I decided to treat myself to some additional Naturespun yarn in half a dozen colors, and have now started a new woven band. Using the diagram style from Applesies and Foxnoses to write it up before setting it all up made threading the cards and starting weaving go a lot more smoothly. (I know some folks love GTT program, but I find it impenetrable; the pattern for this design is from his site, but I needed to draw out the turns in a diagram) Once the threads were all spread out properly (after about twelve picks) the pattern quickly began to take shape... Leafy Laurel trim for a wool apron-dress for winter. This time I made the warp about three yards long, which should yield enough to trim the top edge, and hopefully some leftover for sharing...

July SMART goal challenge
1 1st wool cardweaving hem on red silk gown bag to paper recycling
2 blue Pel Laurel green undergown mended bag to paper recycling
3 * * bag to paper recycling
4 * * bag to Goodwill
5 * * bag to Goodwill
6 * * bag to Goodwill
7 * * cardboard recycled
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  1. I've been thinking about you in the heat. I seem to recall that Portland weather is like Seattle weather X 10, or maybe X 100. We just are not prepared for continuous hot weather, and it turns out that our house doesn't cool off very well at night even though it's cool outdoors. I came very close to sleeping out on the back porch a few nights. You're smart to adapt your schedule to sleep during the worst of it. And. . . Your enamels are just beautiful. My mind is consumed with enamel right now.

    1. Our weather here is a little more extreme, because of being inland instead of on the ocean. The big rivers do not give as much moderating effect.

      I really really have found that running the fans in the cool part of the night has made a big difference. If you can postition some to pull in the cooler air, and have a way to send the warmer air out, it will help even more... I sometimes have on in the living room blowing in and another in the kitchen blowing out. My house has almost no insulation, so it tries to take on the ambient temperature.

      If you come down to Portland sometime, we can have an enameling play day in my workroom!

    2. We figured out a fan arrangement and got a big square fan that will fit into a window. It is perfect at night! At last all sentient beings are sleeping soundly, and the dogs are not squirming and padding around all night trying to find a good spot to curl up! An enameling play day sounds fabulous. In the cool seasons!

  2. Its warmish even in the UK right now, though my place does not get as hot as others (but is very cold in winter) as it is set down in the hilside slightly. I hope you are keeping as cool as you can! You are still managing to achieve a great deal which is very impressive.