Saturday, May 31, 2014

details details


in which our plucky heroine cogitated on the smallest of details...

It is a mild frustration that there are a whole assortment of ways to draw a Pelican design, and not a lot of ways to vary the Laurel wreath. I can change the background, and the setting, but I have only ever come up with a few variations on the wreath itself. I have used other variations: a more dense band of leaves, a more naturalistic design that is made from just one wire rather than multiple individual leaves, and one memorable time a commission to have the leaves in the form of peacock feathers... On my most recent commission, I added this very subtle detail: the size and shape of the Laurel leaves is graduated from base to tip - a new twist on my standard design, and one that makes me feel very pleased with the outcome.
:::

Now that it is the end of the month, how did my SMART goal challenge fare? It seems that it will be needful to renew the challenge for the month of June, since our plucky heroine had a less than stellar time of it as far as getting anything at all accomplished... Instead I spent wasted a great deal of time quenched in despair, which is not useful or beautiful, but all too easy. Must remind self that bootstraps are always there and muscles to grab them with... life is short enough without wasting it. Two years water under the bridge and time to get a move on and just make the best of the current situation. While there might not be all the parts of my life that girl would desire, the fact is that I am alive, in tolerable health thanks to oncology and acupuncture, and that there is still art to be made and a house to be kept, as well as a myriad of friends and family close and far that love me.

May SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charted knitting
design
side yard
clothesline
bag to
Goodwill
2 bone needle pegs on
coatrack
bag to
Goodwill
3 new green
underdress
underdress
sleeves
yardwaste
branches
4 sports bra CR regalia *
5 crescent Laurel
medallion
* *
6 * * *
7 * * *
8 * * *
9 * * *
10 * * *
11 * * *
12 ---------- * *
13 ---------- ---------- *
14 ---------- ---------- *
15 ---------- ---------- *
16 ---------- ---------- *
17 ---------- ---------- *

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Egil's 2014


in which our plucky heroine enjoys a long weekend with her friends at the 40th Egil Skallagrimson Memorial Tournament, May 23-26, 2014... twenty years in the SCA has been a long strange trip, and am still not bored...


Heading round the ring road, a sign points towards our traditional encampment spot. As we arrive and set up, a raven flies over the encampment calling loudly, before heading westward...

follow along the edge of the pond, and tucked away off the road are the canvas homes and public spaces we put up to live in for the next three days. Nights are loud with the frogsong; there are bullfrogs (and silent turtles) in the green waters nearby.

Vestia and Ariadne doing the chicken dance, whilst Marya, little Nikki, and Lawrence observe from a safe distance...
One highlight of the weekend activities was the "Artisan Village", where there were an assortment of tents and spaces where talented folks shared their knowledge of various useful ancient skills and techniques:
William did quite a bit of metalsmithing and coin stamping at the open air "stump" workshop space he set up
I took advantage of the Italian tile painting workshop on Saturday morning, and look forward to seeing the finished glazed and fired tile later this summer (the pale blue will turn a deep indigo). This design, inspired by my heraldry and badge, took about four hours to paint...
Ariadne and Marya conversing at the dyers demo under the tree in the center of the Artisan Village; I have already shared the amazing vivid colors that it is possible to create with natural dyestuff on white wool! Am really looking forward to doing more with indigo and to using the yarns for weaving and embroidery
Vesta working on a forged strigil, in the workshop William offered Saturday afternoon
Marian, our amazing kitchen goddess, in a rare moment of repose. Every year the kitchen setup gets more beautiful and useful. I regret not taking a photo of the decorative interior trim painting under the eaves of the kitchen tent. The wooden shelving holding the pickled vegetables is all-over chip carving...
Evenings around the fire is the time for stories and conviviality...
One final household portrait before teardown and the long trips home!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

it's like a rainbow


in which our plucky heroine shares her intention to add more color to her life and that of her beloved pals...
Marya and Seamus(sp?) were running a natural dyeing demo in the Artisan Village at Egil's, and colorful yarn came home with me this weekend... from left to right: brazilwood/madder/redsandalwood, cochineal, indigo overdyed with logwood, cochineal overdyed with indigo, indigo, dock overdyed with indigo, dock... My hope is that the yarn will be strong enough to use for card weaving, but if not, will be used for decorative embroidery, and either way will end up embellishing SCA clothing and gear

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

down the rabbit hole


in which our plucky heroine, having stopped in Olympia on the way home from Crown and spending time talking with Cathy, am now currently suffering a minor obsession with Anglo-Saxon enamel brooches... hunting information, have fallen down the rabbit hole of archaeological research...

...following links led me to a citation in the Corning Museum of Glass site, and seeking further information on the journal Medieval Archaeology, I found the Archaeology Data Service site, which has an amazing wealth of informaition, and where I found the first fifty volumes of said journal in digital form! Now have several articles available to read and study. I am such a geek. While I like looking at photos on Pinterest as much as the next person, I love being able to know more than oooo-look-shiney...

Monday, May 19, 2014

media Monday


in which our plucky heroine, stumbling in the dark, attempts to remind self that when all else is failing, imagination holds...


stranger from S Tindaan on Vimeo
:::

"...all my life I had been outside, looking at lighted windows, thinking how good it would be to be inside. Once, I might have made it to there..."
~ Gordon R Dickerson, "Time Storm"

Friday, May 16, 2014

time like a river


you know you are getting old when the music icons of your youth are now postage stamps... that said, the new Jimi Hendrix stamp set is delightfully configured to look like a record album, with a large graphic on one side and the self-stick stamps on the other, and just the edge of the "record" showing...
jimi hendrix verso

Monday, May 12, 2014

oh look, a yarnbow!


...it has been a productive weekend here at Acorn Cottage, with masses of general tidying happening before Crafternoon on Saturday. Freydis and Lawrence came over with their sewing projects and it was really a treat to have company all afternoon. Mr Dawson came by briefly for a while as well, and we went over the changes needed for the kingdom regalia bids. There was a tasty dinner of coleslaw, roasted cauliflower and baked hake fillets, and for dessert, the newly sampled homemade nocino liqueur, which has been sitting forgotten aging in the back of the pantry for several years, was particularly tasty drizzled over cardamon ice cream...
:::

My friend Freydis been experimenting with natural dyestuffs on wool, thinking about what sort of colors would be available in the 7th century, Vendel period Sweden, her chosen time period. She brought her samples to Crafternoon yesterday, (and is keeping a notebook on the data of various variables like time/temperature/pH) Seeing actual colors in daylight, as opposed to the colors in books or online, in invaluable for choosing suitable fabric colors for historic re-creation

Many different colors from madder...

Weld yellows, indigo blues, the two combined for greens, and assorted logwood colors. She reminded me that the purple colors would have been from lichen dyestuff in Viking times, but logwood is more available currently (and was used more recently in history)

:::

Our plucky heroine started a new SCA underdress today, in basic rectangular construction. Most of my SCA clothes are at least ten years old, and showing the hard useage they get while camping. A few less threadbare garments will be useful this summer. The primary fabric is a fine linen herringbone in a very plausible indigo blue shot with pale yellow/cream, with the two sides very different in hue. I plan on taking advantage of the color difference.

While I had initially planned on using some beautiful ikat fabric in narrow bands as trim, it just didn't look right somehow... instead, this jaquard woven scrap in a very similar grey/green, which when cut into very narrow strips, reminds me rather of the Persian samite that was used as trim on some Norse clothing.

Cut and folded the jaquard woven fabric in narrow strips about 1cm wide to decorate the cuffs of the new gown, basted in place preparatory to stitching

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

two is one and one is none


in which our plucky heroine thanks her lucky stars...

Given how soft the weather was this evening, after dinner seemed a good time to go refill the yard waste wheelie bin; once the remaining branchlets from pruning the ornamental plum are out of the front yard, the grass can be mowed. Since without help, cutting them into appropriate size isn't really possible, girl has been "folding" them shorter by either breaking off twigs or just snapping the semi-dried branches... Then, without warning, one of the longer random branchlets snapped back, fortunately missing my eyes, but came close enough to grab my eyeglasses off my face and throw them... somewhere in the yard, in the shaggy unmowed grass...

Once I started breathing again, was grateful not only to not be blinded, but also that I had a spare pair of spectacles, or would have been most likely to find missing glasses by stepping on them or mowing over them. It did take quite some time walking a search pattern to find the wayward object, but they had landed softly in a large dandelion. Moral of the story is twofold: one - think carefully about things that can hurt you unexpectedly, and maybe choose not to work when exhausted at the end of the day; two - if I hadn't had a spare pair, I would be in a world of hurt right now. (actually girl has several pairs of spare spectacles, ordering online is remarkably affordable)
:::

May SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charted knitting
design
side yard
clothesline
bag to
Goodwill
2 * pegs on
coatrack
bag to
Goodwill
3 * * yardwaste
branches
4 * * *
5 * * *
6 * * *
7 * * *
8 * * *
9 * * *
10 * * *
11 * * *
12 ---------- * *
13 ---------- ---------- *
14 ---------- ---------- *
15 ---------- ---------- *
16 ---------- ---------- *
17 ---------- ---------- *

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

slightly troublesome Tuesday


in which our plucky heroine attempted refiring of the broken enamel...

... and didn't end up with good results, so instead of continuing in that path, decided to entirely remove old broken (and now occluded) enamel and start again from square zero. As the base silver disc is uniquely engraved and stamped, it was carefully abraded and cleaned and polished in preparation for new wires and enamel this week. This process took several hours. I suspect that the unleaded enamel is not as amenable to repair. Also: reminder to self to be very careful with remembering to use actual eye protection (don't simply rely on spectacles), as this almost but not quite turned into a truly horrific week!

...spent a good chunk of the day helping my pal D as a sewing mentor/consultant, as she has a big project making a silk dupioni bridesmaid dress, and wanted my input as a skillful threadmistress. We looked at patterns and brainstormed all kinds of ideas, on how to turn the alarmingly green fabric into something that would be both flattering and comfortable to wear, as well as not requiring over ten yards of Very Spendy Silk. There is now a cunning plan, and she will be doing a lot of the sewing, with tutorial input from our plucky heroine, and in exchange she will be helping me with both hands-on and moral support in my efforts to declutter Acorn Cottage, and also vehicular transport of things to the transfer station etc... a win/win exchange
:::

May SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charted knitting
design
side yard
clothesline
bag to
Goodwill
2 * pegs on
coatrack
bag to
Goodwill
3 * * *
4 * * *
5 * * *
6 * * *
7 * * *
8 * * *
9 * * *
10 * * *
11 * * *
12 * * *
13 * * *
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *

Monday, May 5, 2014

media Monday, and assorted other flinderly bits...


In which our plucky heroine has a weekend of ups and downs, ending with terminal clumsiness causing weeks worth of work to be smashed to flinders... sometimes you the windshield and sometimes you the bug!

One good thing this weekend were taking the time to go over to the Gathering of the Guilds sale at the Convention Center. Not only did I manage to find a lovely turned myrtlewood bowl to replace my faithful tourney bowl, but also ran into D & N, who offered me a pair of young hens, since they have extras. Need to do something about the hip-high grass in the backyard, if there is ever a gap in the rain, and then there will be ROOM for hens. In truth 'twill be excellent having chooks again...
:::

Sunday did not end well. Sadly and frustratingly while working on final polishing on this piece before mailing it out, it somehow skittered away from the workbench and crashed to the floor, now the enamel is all in flinders and the whole thing to be taken apart and re-done, all those weeks of work wasted... Now will probably be needful to start over again from scratch, bending all the wires, resetting all the enamel, and building up all the layers of color all over again... This is going to be a very busy week coming up, as I had intended to mail this out today.
:::

But just for a smile, the most adorable zombie apocalypse animated short film ever, now with corgi -

Saturday, May 3, 2014

flower power ponies..


in which our plucky heroine couldn't resist graphing out my own design, inspired by a mashup of my own heraldry and the principles of knitted colorwork, since the Great Big Squid bag project was so much fun. This is just an initial pencil sketch, so the shading in of the dark squares is very irregular, which doesn't reflect how the final two-color design will appear. I think I will count this in the "things made" column, as it is something new and creative, even if it didn't take an entire day. Need to see if there is any fingering weight yarn in the stash boxes...

:::

May SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charted knitting
design
side yard
clothesline
*
2 * * *
3 * * *
4 * * *
5 * * *
6 * * *
7 * * *
8 * * *
9 * * *
10 * * *
11 * * *
12 * * *
13 * * *
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *
:::

and a bit of knitted silliness just for fun...

Friday, May 2, 2014

not with sticks and string, or SMART revistied


in which our plucky heroine sets self a challenge to get entirely caught up on my SMART goals this month (SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) My goal for the year is sixty each of make something, fix something and discard something, or approximately five each per month, which is reasonable... Rather got lost on the "timely" aspect in the last several months, which means now making ten things, fixing twelve things and discarding sixteen grocery sacks to either Goodwill recycling or trash over the month of May... can she do it, yes she can! Just watch me!!

Yesterday, as well as the usual work, there was a productive trip to the hardware store with the intention of replacing former collapesed clothesline from last year with something slightly more sturdy. Waited until after sunset for putting together an equally strange contraption...

I attached these closet rod shelf brackets to the side yard fenceposts with dual hose clamps, with the intention that they would serve far better as clothesline brackets than the previous years kludgy makeshift held in place with dowels and scrap wood lashed together...

the new clothesline holds all but the largest of the laundry quite successfully...

:::



May SMART goal challenge
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 * side yard
clothesline
*
2 * * *
3 * * *
4 * * *
5 * * *
6 * * *
7 * * *
8 * * *
9 * * *
10 * * *
11 * * *
12 * * *
13 * * *
14 * * *
15 * * *
16 * * *

Thursday, May 1, 2014

regalia knows no season...


the hottest day of the year so far (temperature jumped forty degrees in a few days) finds our plucky heroine in front of a 1500°F oven; still, having work is far better than the alternative. Here is last weeks project, a rush order which is already completed, mailed, and going to add an extra sparkle to an elevation this weekend...

though the background will eventually be an opaque black, it is important that the areas that will be transparent green and brown have a well sealed border, so that the brightness of the enamel will not be compromised

little bit further... adding in the first layer of background enamel, now that the internal design elements are secure...

just a little bit more... the wreath will need a number of additional layers to build up the color in the leaves, and, of course, more background and counter-enamel. Still, now it is possible to see how the opaque background really sets off the transparent wreath

finished and ready to be set as a pendant... I just love the transparent shading in the leaves! The enamel is 1 1/2" in diameter, and the pendant setting will be just a wee bit larger, (it will be a simple bezel setting with just a border of beaded silver wire)

The simple silver setting for this Laurel medallion has full-round bead wire as a subtle decoration around the edge.