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...
≈:::≈

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
≈:::≈
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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!
:::

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...
:::

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!
:::

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 - - -

Thursday, November 19, 2015

keeping it cool...


Food is still in the coolers, and now two sets of half-gallon milk cartons are seeing duty as block ice containers (as one is thawing, the other is in the freezer turning back into ice, and the milk carton contains the icewater, so the coolers stay relatively dry inside) Not for nothing did our plucky heroine spend a year in the backwoods of Idahell Idaho.

It is challenging to find a suitable replacement fridge, but thanks to the internet, I may have been successful. While no one manufactures compact fridges without any "can holders" in the door instead of only proper shelving, a friend suggested that the can holders could be used instead to store things in small canning jars, which might be a functional option.
I also found a few units that were just refrigerators, sans "ice compartment", which means no need for constant defrosting and more space for storing foodstuff.  This pictured unit is the same size as the ten year old appliance in the kitchen here. Since I will be ordering it online (an option not available for me ten years ago), from an independent retailer in the midwest, it will take some time to arrange and be delivered, and I'll have to find a way to dispose of the old non-working fridge...
:::

Made some savory cheese pastries with filo from the freezer, filled with a mixture of feta cheese, egg, a bit of lebne, and some chopped herbs and green onion. I will make these again, the folded wee handpies were both easy to make and easy to eat.

Monday, November 16, 2015

long time coming



The laminate flooring has been sitting in boxes in the bedroom for at least seven years, it is such a delight to finally have the carpet gone and the flooring in place!

The foot of the bed and storage bench, and a bit of rare sunlight shining through the south window and reflecting off the new flooring.

Back in OlyWa, at Fjords End, I learned about using corner blocking as a simpler way to join baseboard and other moldings, and I decided that it would be equally useful here at Acorn Cottage. The alternative would have been to somehow pry the existing sixty-five year old baseboards off the wall (which sounded like a recipe for disaster and remedial plaster and paint work) and reinstall them after putting the flooring in place...
.
Corner blocks in this case are simple cubes of painted wood, that are used to either fill the room corners and here also to join the middle of two longer pieces of quarter round. There was no easy way to transport an eleven foot length of molding, so I had it cut in half at Mr Plywood. The quarter round molding neatly finishes the transition between the baseboards and the new flooring. We used corner blocks in all the inside corners and Mr Blue Cedar House neatly mitered the one odd outside corner...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

replace the floor - take 2


in which our plucky heroine applauds the progress made, as the second bedroom gets laminate flooring installed.

My Blue Cedar House pals were here for their once a month visit, and once again great leaps forward happened on the house improvement front:
The large bedroom, before removing all the contents prior to replacing the carpet with laminate flooring. Since we did the same project in the other bedroom last month, there was a metric crapton of, quite a lot, most of the contents of the small bedroom still in the large bedroom

This is the carpet that we were removing from the bedroom. Carpet holds dust and pollen all year long; laminate flooring is easy to keep clean. I predict happier lungs in this house...

The bedroom furniture was moved into the living room temporarily. This made a small room even smaller. None of the rooms here at Acorn Cottage are really large. The big bedroom is 11ft x 12 ft, and the living room is not quite that big, so the mattress and bedframe (the large wood and rope construction in the right of the photo) rather loomed over the usual table and chairs.

Saturday, after ripping out the carpet and the foam undercarpet padding we took the padding off to be recycled, a local company that accepts it is down near the railyards under the bridge...

A pretty funky loading dock, with signs... the steps up are pretty sketchy, and there is a big bin (on the right) to just dump the carpet padding. I think it gets torn back into foam chunks and made into new padding...

Mr Blue Cedar House carefully removed the tack strips from the edges of the room, and any small bits of detritus that came up from the concrete slab, before the vapor barrier and underlayment were put in place

The underlayment, before being taped together. This keeps the flooring from being terribly noisy and cold underfoot.

By Saturday night, most of the flooring was in place, save the very last strip, which must needs be cut to size in two directions.

Since it was below the functional temperature for paint to dry outside in the carport, we set up a painting station in the bedroom, for the quarter round edge trim and corner blocking. Tomorrow when it is light again, I'll try and photo the new floor. I did notice that with the room empty, the paint on the walls and current baseboards looks quite shabby. When it is warm enough again to leave the windows open, the walls and trim will get a new coat of paint!

I am loath to put all "the stuff back" in the room tomorrow. My house is feeling a bit like one of those puzzle squares where you move the little tiles from one part to another, trying to get the pattern to sort out correctly. I keep moving boxes and bins and piles of stuff from room to room. And though I do keep letting go of stuff and sending it onward to recycleing or to Goodwill or to free giveaway, it just feels neverending. I know it isn't but I first cleared the small bedroom last month, then had to move stuff back in there and back into the living room. OTOH, even with moving stuff back into the small bedroom there is still enough room for my guests to get to both the end and the side of the bed, which wasn't the case last year. Plucky heroine must keep on trucking on...

Plus this weekend my refrigerator died. Like stopped working in a probably irreparable way. So I get to deal with that. Too. I know, first world problem, and fortunately I have several camping coolers and can keep food on ice until I sort out what to do, and where to find a suitable replacement. Because the rooms are tiny, I use a compact fridge; current one is a 4.4 cu/ft size, which is about a quarter of the size of a "normal" fridge here in the USA. This makes it a bit of a challenge to find a good one, because in that size they are mostly intended for use by college students, and the doors have "can holders" instead of shelves to hold foodstuffs. I don't drink beverages that come in cans, I am not the target demographic... I guess I should be grateful that the wee thing lasted ten years before failing. Ah well, it will all sort out in the end somehow, but it just seems wrong to have something like a fridge behave more like consumable goods rather than durable goods...
:::

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 - bedroom flooring small CPU
4 - - 2 random hard drives
5 - - 4 more Goodwill bags
6 - - old foam pad
7 - - carpet
8 - - carpet padding
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

SWAP 2016


Last week DragonLady posted the rules and guidelines for SWAP 2016. Sewing With A Plan is an annual online challenge with many participants worldwide and no actual prizes other than personal accomplishment, and ideally results in a set of eleven garments that work together. Since my own wardrobe has been in need of refurbishment for the last few years, our plucky heroine intends to actually participate, rather than simply enjoy the planning phase, which admittedly is my favorite part (though having a functional wardrobe is also a great and useful pleasure)

Today I pulled some likely suspects of fabric from my stash, and a few that I thought were good choices were sent back to the shelves, while I found some others that would be better coordinates with my chosen bottoms (aka pinafores). The color differences are subtle, but for example my already cut out but not sewn denim jacquard is actually a brighter blue than I prefer to wear with the chosen dress fabrics, and what I thought was grey chambray is actually a pale cool blue.  I switched the denim jacquard with a random wale black corduroy (because I can never have too many black pinafores), and the grey chambray for a soft grey-blue ikat.

left column: top - dark grey plaid Goretex for rain capelet, middle - already sewn indigo/black Alabama Chanin style long sleeve knit top, bottom - pale blue/dark grey stripe hemp knit for turtleneck long sleeve knit top

middle column: five fabrics for dresses - two tone indigo stripe linen, soft grey-blue ikat cotton, black/cream stripe cotton*, indigo pinstripe cotton/linen, black/grey/blue stripe cotton

right column: fabrics for pinafores - dark indigo denim, brown brushed twill, black random wale corduroy

I may overdye the black/cream stripe fabric and the denim jacquard that didn't make the final plan with some chocolate brown dye, which will help them better coordinate with my wardrobe, and also overdye some of the various cotton lace pieces I have, to use them as trim... I prefer lower contrast and less vivid colors in my clothing, as my personal coloration is also low contrast - really bright colors and high contrast leave me looking and feeling washed out.

To summarise the rules: "The first group of three all works together. The second group of three all works together. The two pieces works with both the first and the second group. The 3 wildcards should work with and/or coordinate with some of the above, but don't have to work with everything." Because my everyday dresses are what is the most in need of refurbishment, I have chosen options from the various groupings that all have at least one or more dress in the group, and my "bottom" layers are all new pinafores, to replace the ones that are also starting to wear out.

my revised tentative plan:
  • DRESS - grey/black/blue striped cotton
  • BOTTOM - dark indigo pinafore
  • LAYER - dark grey plaid rain capelet
  • DRESS - indigo pinstripe
  • BOTTOM  - brown pinafore, edgebound in black
  • TOP - indigo/black knit top
              (Alabama Chanin style, already made)
  • DRESS - two-tone indigo linen
  • DRESS - cream/black stripe cotton
                 (overdye either brown or medium indigo)
  • DRESS - grey/blue ikat cotton
  • BOTTOM - black random wale corduroy pinafore
  • TOP - pale blue/dark grey stripe hemp knit turtleneck
:::

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 - - small CPU
4 - - 2 random hard drives
5 - - 4 more Goodwill bags
6 - - old foam pad
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -
:::

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Saturday snippets


...in which our plucky heroine tosses out a few bits of catching up - my beloved parents are visiting, which, since we live on opposite sides of the continent, doesn't happen very often, so blog posting is not the top priority right now...

This week, after finding out that a visit to the Portland Art Museum runs an astonishing $20 a person, and a conversation about how some libraries have passes available to check out, that can be used for things like visiting museums... some digging around in the library website turned up the MCL "My Discovery Pass" program... I can now, with a little effort and advance planning, actually be able to spend time in a favorite sort of activity. Apparently the program had just gone live about a week or two prior to my search, which explains why I had no idea it was there. I imagine that in time there may be additional venues added, but for now, an art museum excursion, and a Studio Ghibli film "When Marnie Was There" are planned future delights
:::

I'm about halfway through culling the paper files of excess, and have been sending what is no longer loved to recycle-land. The eventual goal is to use the two drawer file cabinet for both needful paper files and for storage of crafting and packing supplies, like drawing paper and padded envelopes and whatever else fits neatly into hanging files.
:::

Concerned about the stability of the power grid in emergencies? Now you too can put those backyard hens to work generating power as well as generating eggs!
:::

October SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 8 stenciled panels kosode for R carpet
2 carved yukiwa stamp new flooring down carpet padding
3 3 stamped panels four new shelves mustard nightstand
4 Japanese kosode another shelf Goodwill bag
5  a silk obi belt external closet rod shelf unit
6 15 kai awashe shells doorway threshold another Goodwill bag
7 two cotton obi belts - paper recycle bag
8 new swimdress - folding shelves
9 18 jars salsa verde - 2 Goodwill bags
10 8 jars fruit sauce - Coleman stove
11 - - -
12 - - -
:::