Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 SMART goals


in which our plucky heroine improves on her progress of the previous year:

  SMART goals challenge 2015
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1Fox Paws wrapfurnace fan re-boltedbag of fabric cabbage
210 jars quincemeatproto-plinth builtbag to Goodwill
3marzipan bees   planner gutsbag to Goodwill
4bee skep cakeKon-Mari 3 drawersbag to Goodwill
5pattern for twa corbiesnightstands clearedbag to Goodwill
6blue tunicbed lamps transformedpaper recycling
7blue tunic embroiderylamp brackets installedpaper recycling
87 jars Seville marmaladecloset clearedcardboard recycle
9corbie cowldressers movedmonitor to Goodwill
10gastropod needlebookkitchen art rearrangedpaper recycling
11blue kitty needlebooksill boards sandedbox to Goodwill
12rosewater candied peelfront yard weededbag to Goodwill
13ginger candied peelclose plum prunedyard waste bin
149 tiny enamelsmore mulch spread yard waste bin
159 brooch settingsapple tree prunedcompost bin full
16Bill SCA pantsarborvitae prunedbin of twigs
17Mindy undergownsalad table traysbin of twigs
18Mindy embroideryworm bin renovated bin of twigs
19Mindy aprondresssalad table plantedweedblock fabric
20Laurel underdressstrawberries plantedbin of twigs
21Laurel aprondresstaxes donebin of brush
22kawaii coastersfront yard mowedrandom plastic
23blood orange marmaladebackyard mowedbin of twigs
24Seville orange juiceside yard mowedbag to Goodwill
25mouse tape measurenew garden bed bin of twigs
26mobieus apronferal roses tied upbag to Goodwill
27sewing tools necklacesalad table thinnedbag of books
28sewing tools shadowboxfront yard mowedbag of books
29heart in hand necklacestrawberries plantedbag of books
30manyhands shadowboxblackcurrant plantedbag of books
31mouse family yokefridge plinth drawerbag of books
32medieval paintchook house movedyard waste bin
33three tops for Joanchook run fencingdriveway brushpile
34big garden bedchook shade runrecycle bin full
35Mindy underdressapples thinnedyardwaste bin
36Laurel underdressthinned applescodling apples
37Norseguy embroidery designpruned pear cankersyard waste bin
38chook roostaccess to windowbroken lawn mower
39nest box doorhallway shelfrotary edger
40Jen jumperyard mowedgrill lid
41grey popoverbigger chook yardbag to Goodwill
42blue Norse tunicpear tree gone500lbs debris
43Jen jumperfence gaps filledbag to Goodwill
44peach gown for Larborvitae prunedbag to Goodwill
45blue tunic for Bchook shade tarpbag to Goodwill
46grey gown for Mtoilet seat replacedbag to Goodwill
47linen gown for Sre-plant lettucesbag to Goodwill
48black batik popoverrattan chair seatbag to Goodwill
49Laurel brooch settingbrown chair seatsbag to Goodwill
50buckwheat hull pillowreattach computer desk bag to Goodwill
51one wire Laurelscrub chook houseelectronica x 2
52Bill SCA pantslinen closet doorsyard waste bin
53apron dress for Lshed roof patchedyard waste bin
54DM coronetfront door latchcarpet
55DM coronetbike brake cablecarpet padding
56red top for Joanbike kickstandmustard nightstand
57Coptic stitch bookside yard work Goodwill bag
58duct tape cloneback yard workshelf unit
59whitewashwhitewash henhouseanother Goodwill bag
604 heraldic enamelschook roostpaper recycle bag
overflow SMART goals!!!
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
61 10 shibori panels kosode for R folding shelves
62 8 stenciled panels new flooring down 2 Goodwill bags
63 carved yukiwa stamp four new shelves Coleman stove
64 3 stamped panels another shelf 2 Goodwill bags
65 Japanese kosode external closet rod big CPU
66  a silk obi belt doorway threshold small CPU
67 15 kai awashe shells Mom slippers 2 random hard drives
68 two cotton obi belts Barb necklaces 4 more Goodwill bags
69 new swimdress bedroom flooring old foam pad
70 18 jars salsa verde painted doorpegs carpet
71 8 jars pear/apple sauce chicken waterer carpet padding
72 11 jars salsa verde plinth casters refrigerator
73 10 jars grapefruit marmalade shed door rings bag to Goodwill
74 red hat for Mom garlic planted bag to Goodwill
75 charter painted flowerbulbs planted -
76 fabrics keyring salad table planted -
77 Elizabethan shirt
squirrelproofing -
78 party cookery - -
79 reverse applique RTW dress - -
80 Elizabethan shift - -

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

goals not resolutions


in which our plucky heroine looks towards the beginning of a new year...

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about my ongoing goal setting processes, as one does towards the end of the year. My personal motto lately seems to be "incremental progress is still progress". With that in mind, I have been using the concept of SMART* goals for the last two years, in combination with this blog as a way of keeping track.

In those two years I have made significant progress in making things for self and others, in assorted mending and repair of my home and surroundings, and in my decluttering of Acorn Cottage... Because this format works for me, I intend to continue using this method of recordkeeping in 2016. Stay tuned for the Great Big Chart reveal tomorrow, of all that was accomplished in 2015...

My goals for 2016, in no particular order:
  • Sew enough clothing to meet my personal goal of a weeksworth of wardrobe, to end up with eight pieces in each of six categories. Participating in online sewing challenges like SWAP 2016 and the seasonal 6PACs will help keep me motivated.
  • Finish the major decluttering of Acorn Cottage. I've been gradually working on this project for the last two years, with the goal of having a living space that allows me to focus on vocational and avocational actions instead of on finding lost things
  • Teach at least one artisanry* workshop every quarter, with the aim of ramping up to one per month. I will likely never be able to return to housecleaning as my primary income, so moving forward on a different aspect and not letting my fears and emotions keep me stuck is my goal
    *enameling, metalwork, stitchery, or handicraft
  • Outside the house improvements: improve the chicken habitat here at Acorn Cottage, decentralise the yard tool storage and remove the old shed, add another garden bed for vegetable growing, and set up the carport as an outdoor room...
  • Finally paint the interior of the house other colors than "former owner white" once the weather is warm enough for opening the windows
  • Create a body of artwork suitable for gallery showing
  • Continue to care well for my body, without which none of these goals are possible or relevant! This means continuing with water exercises/PT and some thought put towards better meal planning, and food journalkeeping
*SMART =  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) goals

SWAP sewing progress


in which our plucky heroine makes further progress on a new dress...

A quick notebook sketch done whilst riding the bus today, of the design concept for the black/brown linen dress. Sort of a Gudrun Sjoden lagenlook style, quite loosely cut; rectangular construction for the bodice in combination with my favorite gored skirt and capacious pockets. Managed to get it all cut out of the yardage I had on hand, by dint of some clever piecing...

It seemed advantageous to take the time to add a little stencilled motif to the pieced panels, which has the advantage of making a virtue of necessity. Also it is eversomuch easier to stencil on small pieces of fabric. (and, stenciling is a comparatively fast way to add surface design interest, compared to embroidery or applique) This will add a focal point just outside my shoulders, as well as adding some additional black accent to the brown/black cross dyed linen blend fabric. The stencils I cut for the kosode project earlier this year are continuing to be very useful.

Monday, December 28, 2015

progress on ALL THE THINGS



in which our plucky heroine ramps up her handicraft efforts on at least some of ALL THE THINGS

Beginning on the 2016 SWAP online sewing challenge, I'm almost done cutting out the first dress. I found some cross dyed black/brown cotton linen blend, which will work perfectly for one of the two garments in the "Colorway A + B" section of this year's plan. My original idea was to simply use this fabric and edgebind it in black. While I normally discard selvedges, one side of the fabric had this taupe fringe and blue edging. I will be adding this as part of the hemline decoration, along with the black edge binding...
:::

Years and years ago (back in the 80’s) I made wooly socks for my whole family to wear like slippers. New England had cold winters then. My folks are currently in the middle of decluttering (just like I am), and the socks I had made for my Dad turned up and were sent back to me for refurbishing. I decided that instead of simply re-doing the bottom half of the socks, I’d instead try out the Duffers Revisited pattern, make some hopefully dense felted slippers, attach the top half of the original socks to them to create slipper socks, and then sew non-slip to the bottoms.
The "Duffers" knitting pattern does go really fast, as I’m about 3/4 the way through after only two days of spare time random knitting. A bit worried about the felting part though, since the washer here is a front loader.

:::

Another holiday needlebook commission, this one based on trillium flowers. I love making custom sewing box treats, particularly needle books and pin cushions...
.
the initial sketch, and the finished needle book
:::

"wintery mix"... doesn't that sound like something you could buy in the bulk bins at the grocery store? or from a candy shop?... Why is it then falling from the sky instead??

later Sunday, our "wintery mix" turns to actual snow...


Boneclaw Mother and Nanny Og, in the first snow since they were born.
:::

My dear friend SR in the dress that I decorated with reverse applique (Alabama Chanin style). The project took months of my spare time, but I will say that the results really suit her. And fortunately the weather had been cooperatively (and uncharacteristically) dry for a few days, so she was able to have another friend take and send me this picture

:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painted plinth casters bag to Goodwill
2 fabrics keyring shed door rings bag to Goodwill
3 Elizabethan shirt
garlic planted -
4 party cookery flowerbulbs planted -
5 reverse applique RTW dress salad table planted -
6 Elizabethan shift squirrelproofing -
7 trillium needlebook - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Saturday, December 26, 2015

unboxing



in which our plucky heroine celebrates by unpackaging gifts and beginning the 2016 SWAP sewing challenge...

Sekrit Santa sent me some intricate and unusual embroidered trim all the way from Turkmenistan! Guess I'll be making some new garb (when my schedule has some slack later in 2016) to properly display it;  it should look quite splendid on a new undergown to be worn with my Persian coat, which has many of the same colors in the stenciled patterning. I've been mulling over improving that set of garb, and hoping to find suitable fabrics as I continue decluttering my workroom. This new gift just adds another bit of incentive...

:::
Boxing Day is also the start of sewing of the 2016 SWAP sewing challenge. I've been enjoying the planning process, looking at both the contents of my closet and fabric stash, to choose what to sew in the next four months. The two garments I wear the most often in wintertime are dresses and long sleeve knit tops. Those are what is needed in my wardrobe currently. I know that some folks sew SWAP for the warmer weather we will have at the end of the challenge, but I really need clothing for now, not for late springtime. Hence a second revision: comprising five dresses, three pinafores, two knit tops and a rain capelet...

3 pieces color A - black
  • DRESS - black/grey/blue striped cotton
  • BOTTOM - black vertical pique pinafore*
  • LAYER - dark grey plaid rain capelet
3 pieces color B - brown
  • DRESS - brown/turquoise shot cotton
  • BOTTOM  - brown pinafore, edgebound in black
  • TOP - brown cotton knit turtleneck
Combo A + B (black + brown); both dresses edgebound in black
  • DRESS - black/brown chambray linen
  • DRESS - indigo tonal stripe linen, trimmed with brown chambray linen & indigo lace
3 pieces wildcard colors - indigo+
  • DRESS - indigo pinstripe cotton
  • BOTTOM - dark indigo pinafore
  • TOP - pale blue/dark grey stripe hemp knit turtleneck
* I may substitute an additional dress for this pinafore, if I have time, since this is my one "already sewn" item, made in 2012
:::

Have been hunting for ages for a Scandinavian style tine box at an affordable price, with the idea that it could be both an "in the house" sewing box, and at "at events" handwork project box... When this one turned up on Etsy for $35, I took several months to decide that it was worth indulging myself, and since it didn't get snapped up by another shopper, my birthday present to myself it became!

:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painted plinth casters bag to Goodwill
2 fabrics keyring shed door rings bag to Goodwill
3 Elizabethan shirt
garlic planted -
4 party cookery flowerbulbs planted -
5 reverse applique RTW dress salad table planted -
6 Elizabethan shift squirrelproofing -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Friday, December 25, 2015

axial tilt and the return of the light


from Acorn Cottage does our plucky heroine send Holiday Greetings to friends far and wide... wishing for all some bright and festive spirit to sparkle in your lives... however and whatever you celebrate, may the light shine for each and all of us!


Gower Wassail - Steeleye Span


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Annie Lennox


Ring Out Solstice Bells - Jethro Tull


Run Rudolph Run - Grateful Dead


Wassail Song - Albion Dance Band


The Christians and the Pagans - Dar Williams


Christmas in the Trenches - John McCutcheon


Old Hippie Christmas - The Bellamy Brothers
:::

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

not a UFO*


in which our plucky heroine completes a long long project...

... back in July I began a complicated project of embellishing a dress, not for me but for a dear friend. The plans were to use handstitched reverse applique, in the Alabama Chanin style, to add colorful borders to a plain black eShakti dress. It is a lot more difficult to to embellishment on a RTW garment than on the nice flat pieces of homemade clothing, before they are assembled. About 42 hours of handwork later, spread out over months, the dress embellishment is completed.

The project began with my designing the neckline, and after consultation redesigning, cutting the stencil, and applying it, and then painting the neckline motifs. Then I also added small motifs to the sleeve cuffs, which were quite a challenge to stencil and embroider. Over time, all the scrolling vinework on the neckline was stitched, and the centers of the pattern cut away to show the green jersey underneath the black.

Then a related motif was created for decorating the hemline: black rabbits surrounded by foliage... It took almost as long to complete the hemline embellishment as it did for the neckline, which makes sense, as it covered a similar area. Had we chosen to extend the decoration all round the skirt hem edge, it would have looked even more splendid, but taken at least another 40 hours or probably more. There is a reason the Alabama Chanin garments cost what they do - handwork takes time!

needle and thread and thimble and a whole lot of hours...

.

The hemline embellishment covers almost a quarter of the circumference of the hem, and is surprisingly difficult to photograph well.

:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painted plinth casters bag to Goodwill
2 fabrics keyring shed door rings bag to Goodwill
3 Elizabethan shirt
garlic planted -
4 party cookery flowerbulbs planted -
5 reverse applique RTW dress salad table planted -
6 - squirrelproofing -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

*UFO = UnFinished Object


Monday, December 21, 2015

Solstice greetings


This is just plain lovely... happy Solstice one and all!


Sunday, December 20, 2015

snippets and a subtlety...



in which our plucky heroine is delighted with yet more treats and tidbits...

Saturday here was the occasion of the Saturnalia Shindig, what is becoming an annual celebration here. My natal day often falls within the days of Saturnalia, a festive holiday we have begun to make our own. Dressing up in Ancient Roman, or similar clothing; possibly researching suitable edible tidbits, are always a fun option. This year, the theme inspired my pals Ursel, Marya, and Ariadne to even greater heights of creativity, and they surprised us all with an enormous replica of the Coliseum, built from graham crackers and fig newtons:
Ursel (an architect by vocation) designed the edifice, it was built by her and Marya, and the Naval Battle in the center of the arena, complete with blue gelatin water, gummi worm "sea monsters" and origami ships, was the work of Ariadne:
Truly I am blessed with delightfully creative and silly friends!! After much admiration, the Coliseum was sacked by the children at the party, who had no qualms about munching on architectural fragments, gummi bear Roman citizens, and blue Jello water...

:::

Prior to the party, much cookery happened here at Acorn Cottage. I tried for the first time a variant on my usual acorn cakelets, flavoring them with caraway (as is common in the British Isles) instead of the usual lemon/poppyseed. These were quite well received, and by the end of the evening they had completely disappeared.

My quincemeat tartlets suffered a similar fate; while not at all anciently Roman, they, in my opinion, a required part of winter holiday party food, and I'd not dream of leaving them out. Every year I make up at least one batch of quincemeat preserves, and eventually intend to plant a quince tree, to ensure a good supply of that amazingly fragrant pome fruit.


Tiropita, with a feta/herb filling were easier to make than I suspected, particularly since I indulged myself with a small kitchen upgrade, and got an OXO silicone pastry brush for the melted butter. This is a doddle to wash, and will surely not leave behind random brush hairs like my lovely if fragile natural bristle and wood one is wont to do. I was surprised and pleased at how nicely it handled the delicate fillo dough layers.

Lastly, but also not at all historical, I made a good sized batch of mocha balls, using the McMenamins coffee liqueur in place of our usual Meyers Dark Rum. This was rather a last minute substitution, made when I discovered that there was in fact no rum on the liquor shelf. There were, however, no complaints...

:::

During a rare sunbreak today, it was possible to replace the failing shed door fastenings. New shed door fasteners, bolted through the door frames. The former owners had attached a hasp latch with wee 3/4" long screws, which eventually simply fell off. I might not be a carpenter, but even I can do better than that!

(rings to be secured by an outdoor padlock)
:::

In addition, M and I managed to get three grow boxes now planted with garlic, mulched with cocoa hulls, and covered with chicken wire to deter squirrels. I know it is a little bit late in the year to get the garlic planted, but the weather kindly continued to refrain from dumping gallons of water down our necks, which has not been the case ever since the mail order garlic showed up here.

Also a bag full of flower bulbs of unknown type have been added to the front yard flower border. And some refurbishment of the salad table, in the hope of some tiny amounts of wintertime greens. Next year my intention is to do a much better job of preparing the salad table for winter. Preferably like in August... Half the salad table re-planted with some winter chickweed and mustard greens, temporarily covered with chicken wire to deter squirrels. I'll be building a better supported cover structure that can both cover the plants from frost and included mesh of some to keep the noxious tree rats away from the plants and the nice soft dirt:
:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painted plinth casters bag to Goodwill
2 fabrics keyring shed door rings bag to Goodwill
3 Elizabethan shirt
garlic planted -
4 party cookery flowerbulbs planted -
5 - salad table planted -
6 - squirrelproofing -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Thursday, December 17, 2015

a nifty natal-day treat


in which our plucky heroine begins the celebration a few days early...

This afternoon the doorbell rang, and a surprisingly large package was delivered.
Inside the package was a large bouquet of red and white tulips, along with instructions as to their proper care and feeding...
The attached card let me know who is responsible... I love how my parents refer to themselves - it makes them sound like Harley-riding wild folks!
These flowers need to rehydrate after their long airplane trip, so (as per the instructions) are currently still all encased in the cone of protection, with nice freshly cut stems and the glass vase full of clean water. Tomorrow I will release them and take a better photo of the full effect!
It is a treat to have cut flowers to decorate Acorn Cottage, it always makes me feel both festive and wealthy. Eventually there will be an assortment of flowers and foliage growing here to fill that niche, but as my natal day is Midwinter, actual flowers will always be a luxury, and one that my family indulge me in...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

hippety hop on the bunny trail


in which our plucky heroine shares a photo in my files that I forgot to post earlier...

I've been gradually working away at decorating a RTW dress for SR, using the Alabama Chanin reverse applique techniques; this is the freezer paper stenciling for the hemline decoration... all the black foliage is stenciled in green, then stitched and reverse appliqued in a brighter green like the neckline.
The rabbits will remain black, with just a bit of green outline along the top edges to help define their shapes. I am debating adding an additional layer of black applique to further emphasize them against the black dress. Will wait until all the foliage is complete to make that decision. I just love this set of techniques, and wonder if they would also make a good set of classes to teach...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

charter painting


in which our plucky heroine enjoys coloring for grownups...

Last week the state of the world and the state of my life just rolled over me like a big storm, and the best thing I could do was to take a mental health break and spent an afternoon painting an award charter. (Award charters are blank scrolls, usually inspired by particular illuminated manuscripts, that various SCA artists have drawn artwork and done calligraphy for, and then copies are made and said copies painted individually)

I'd long wanted to try this, just for fun, but usually charter painting happens in the evening, somewhere on the other side of the city. My friend Marya offered me a chance to come over to Rex House and paint one of the new Summits charters... As it turns out, this sort of painting is wonderfully absorbing, taking just enough attention that all else troublesome fades into the background, before the simple challenge of trying new paint effects.

As I began the painting, after looking at the original inspiraton, I added washes of color in the large areas, trying to balance the warm and cool colors in a similar way

More layers of translucent gouache, and beginning to add some internal detailing of the built and wild landscape

A lot more detailing work, on the architecture, and the clothing. The dimensionality is really surprising, considering how simple the shading is

Fine linework on the bricks, color and more shading on the clothing and the Grail...

The completed charter painting, with a decorated border. The various personages in the scene have now been given a variety of ethnic diversity, to better reflect the Roman world

This is the actual image that inspired Marya to create this design, and I gave my best effort to do the painting in a similar style. There is always more to learn...

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Saturday snippets


in which our plucky heroine grasps at bootstraps yet again...

Whoo hoo, on Wednesday at the pool, for the first time since my knee injury this summer, I was able to use the pool ladders in the deep end, instead of needing to use the shallow stairs!! It required using upper body strength as well, but it seems that all the water PT and exercising has been generating some improvement.
:::


Thanks to the "My Discovery Pass" from the library, I was able to go see "When Marnie Was There" at the NW Film Center this afternoon. Definitely worth trekking downtown in the rain to watch what may be the last film from Studio Ghibli. The animation was as spectacular as would be expected, and the story bittersweet

Japanese trailer, IMHO better than the Disney-fied one
:::

An online friend queried "what does happiness feel like, and whether it was possible to feel happiness in a way that would overwhelm all other emotions" and this was my reply:
When there was happiness in my life, to me it felt like a warmth in my center, the way that even in a fire that is almost quenched there can still be a live coal, and whatever else was my external situation I could still feel that. To me it was not a feeling that blankets all other emotions but one that rather underlaid them, as the earth and gravity underlay the bright world...
someday I hope to have that feeling again, at least I can still remember that there was a time I felt that, even if I can only remember it now in words and not in actual feel-memory...
:::

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

a tiny helper


in which our plucky heroine shares a favorite helper...

This is an easier adaptation of a useful sewing tool I have made in the past. Instead of making large tags with glue and fabric, this time I simply used fusible web to attach small pieces of chosen potential fabric for my 2016 SWAP to leftover index cards. Then, trim the pieces to a consistent size, punch holes, and they can all be stored on a key ring, leaving them handy to carry with when fabric shopping (or when shopping for RTW). When not in use they can be stored on a pinboard or hook in the sewing area.
:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painted plinth casters bag to Goodwill
2 fabrics keyring - -
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -


Monday, December 7, 2015

media Monday



:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter painted plinth casters -
2 - - -
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Thursday, December 3, 2015

unboxing the fridge...


... in which our plucky heroine rejoices to have a properly equipped kitchen again...

Just before 11 the delivery truck arrived with the new fridge for Acorn Cottage... the haulers warned me that it was on a pallet, which actually was a good thing since it likely means that the fridge has been transported in the correct orientation and will probably not need to sit for 24 hours before being plugged in

The haulers very kindly were willing to deliver the fridge all the way into the kitchen (instead of on the front porch as the contract allows) They commended my patience in waiting the weeks it took to arrive, and I commended their willingness to go the extra feet actually into the house. Smiles all around. Now for the actual unboxing...

Just as the delivery men suspected/suggested, once the strapping was cut away, the outer layer of cardboard packaging simply lifted off the top, leaving the inner layers of cardboard to fall away

The interior bits are all neatly taped in place for travel, and the silly can holders are, upon testing, exactly the size to hold tall pint canning jars for storing leftovers

It turned out not that difficult after all to get the fridge up onto the plinth once I removed all the glass shelves... Happy to have a proper kitchen setup once again!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

a bit of a progress report and other Tuesday tidbits



...in which our plucky heroine checks in on the SMART goals for the year...

so far the yearlong SMART goal chart has over seventy entries in each of the three categories, and there is still all of December in which to attempt to get as far as possible. Tonight I am going to attempt adding casters to the fridge plinth, since the new refrigerator should arrive on Thursday (tomorrow). Am reusing the gussets and casters from the former washer dolly, which necessitates drilling all new attachment points.


Thankfully this part of the process is relatively straightforward, and doesn't require learning an entire new skillset, or an entirely new toolset. I'm not much of a woodcrafter, less than a shade tree mechanic, and respect rather than fear power tools. Still the old motto IF IS IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME holds true... once it gets here I am sure it will need to sit for 24 hours before being plugged in, to let the coolant settle. Which will give me enough some time to find someone local to help raise the fridge up onto the plinth. Our plucky heroine cannot lift fifty pounds unaided.
:::

Here is a bit of sweet whimsey, all singing all dancing...

:::

December SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 - plinth casters -
2 - - -
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Sunday, November 29, 2015

wishlist 2015


...in which our plucky heroine attempts to make things easier for those who don't already know her pretty well....

This list is a work-in-progress, since like each year for the past several, I've been participating in Daegmar's Sekrit Santa gift exchange... It is actually pretty difficult to find Things that fit the requirements (keep the exchanged gift either handmade/homemade or if purchased to be $20 or less); since most of what will make a real difference in my life are not things, but"the gift of time and the sharing of some resources, rather than actual stuff." ; it seemed a good idea to provide both general guidelines to what I like and do not like, as well as a modest annotated list of assorted Useful and Delightful things:

Random wishlist notes:
my favorite colors: The kind of blue that you get from indigo: nightsky and dark denim. The greyish color of natural linen. Taupe. Grey. Soft dull turquoise. The dark black brown of some kinds of undyed sheep wool. Bittersweet chocolate brown. Black.

In general, food is not a Fjorlief treat and neither are scented things. Girl does not particularly like chocolate and is allergic to cherries and hazelnuts...

I mostly do not collect things, in particular I don't collect acorn kitsch, even though the house is named Acorn Cottage, nor do I collect chicken things, even though there are often hens in residence...

Annotated wishlist items that are less than $20, in no particular order:

Tool Girl can never have too many tools. Lee Valley is most reputable, and has a delicious selection of tools and trinkets... This jewelers hand vise, or these small brass calipers would fill gaps in the tool collection

These smaller pocket size DMT pocket diamond hones would be very handy

Wake The Dead's combination of celtic style instruments and arrangements, and Grateful Dead songs, makes me really happy. Any of the three CD's would be a nice addition to the Acorn Cottage library: Wake The Dead, or Buckdancer's Choice, or Blue Light Cheap Hotel

I've a small collection of these scarves, in the 30" x 30" size, they are a delicate cotton fabric and handprinted in India, stay put on my head and cover my thinning hair, and keep either the too much sun off my noggin, or help keep my head and ears warm, depending on the season. This one is in ocean colors, and this one indigo dark with warm flowers are both different from what I already have...

I love the woodblock prints of Mary Azarian, and while her actual prints are far out of price range, this lovely poster is quite affordable

These handpainted ceramic buttons are a different riff on indigo and white, and would be a great accent on a new springtime frock...
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some rather more spendy, but also Very Useful, things:

It would be a very good addition to the infrastructure here to acquire an extension ladder. One that is long enough to reach the gutters, or the attic hatchways, and strong enough for someone that weighs over 200 lbs... must needs do a bit more research as to what would be suitable

The air pump I have for my bikes here at home is ancient and funky, and replacing it is fairly high on my list of useful tools needed. The last time I was at REI I took a looksee at the various sorts available, and this one looked like it would do, also available from the Planet Bike website..

I have several friends that own Excalibur food dehydrators, all quite happy with how useful they are, it might be a good alternative way to preserve food for stable shelf storage here
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The list below first took shape back in 2011 in response to a 10-gift wishlist meme, and it 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. Gradually, with the assistance of friends and family, over the years almost more than half of these, six of the ten, have become reality in my life. Not sure if that this maybe means time to revisit goal setting, but am very sure it means that there is everyday gratitude for the help that made these possible
  1. 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...
  2. raised garden beds built/load of garden soil and 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.
  3. massage - for many years I had an ongoing every other week housecleaning for massage trade. Even a modest amount of attention paid to sorting out the knots and such that have accumulated in the last six  seven  ten+ years would help me a lot
  4. 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
#1 has happened from time to time, but there is still quite a ways to go with inside the house efforts. #3 is partially a reality, as I have ongoing acupuncture treatments that fill an analogous but not identical niche, and I no longer have the stamina to trade housecleaning as skilled labor..

In the last five years, six of the ten things I had originally listed have been accomplished, either by my own efforts or the kindly help of friends or family. Our plucky heroine has gone cross country and back again on a sleeper car on the train, have wooden wall shelves in the small bedroom, both bedrooms now have hard flooring instead of carpet, there is a wooden kitchen cart that adds extra countertop in the wee kitchen, concrete blocks that can be used when the water cachement system gets built are waiting in the carport, and the backyard debris has been hauled away!
  1. 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
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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...
  5. 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
  6. 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.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

some Saturday snippets


in which our plucky heroine tidies up a few loose ends...

I feel a bit like a badass on Friday morning... I rode my bike to the pool (for my PT water exercises) and back, even though it was barely above freezing out!
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After a tasty dim sum lunch, Zenobia and I were at the Stark Street Studios holiday studio sale (so many different and lovely ceramic artistry, both functional and sculptural, as well as some very interesting jewelery combining metalwork and ceramics). I was admiring the shape and colors of this soap dispenser, in harmony with the assorted colors in the washroom here at Acorn Cottage; Z gave it to me as an early birthday gift!

It will be a bit of beauty delighting my eyes every time I wash my hands. By gradually and naturally shifting the accoutrements of daily life here to things both more functional and more beautiful or whimsical, the activities of daily living become more consciously done. While I realise that this is in many ways a first world concern, in other ways it is a very primal activity, to add beauty to our surroundings and the paraphernalia of our lives is something humans have been doing for millennia...
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As part of incremental housey improvements, when looking at the photos of the new flooring I noticed that the wooden peg-hook rack on the back of the bedroom door was never painted, though it has been up on the back of the door for years now. It was the work of an hour or so to dig out some of the trim paint and now it looks a lot better... Subtle things make such a difference!
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November SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 11 jars salsa verde Mom slippers 2 Goodwill bags
2 10 jars grapefruit marmalade Barb necklaces big CPU
3 red hat for Mom bedroom flooring small CPU
4 - painted doorpegs 2 random hard drives
5 - chicken waterer 4 more Goodwill bags
6 - - old foam pad
7 - - carpet
8 - - carpet padding
9 - - refrigerator
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -