Monday, February 29, 2016

Monday musings and media


in which our plucky heroine heads into another hopefully productive week...

Currently about a third of the way through with this tiny (1" diameter) Laurel medallion. Engraved diaper pattern with stamped bees for the background. Transparent lilac enamel. Next step is to carefully enamel the Laurel wreath (in Limoges technique in two shades of green, and finally build a two-way setting for it)

:::

Finished carving this 2" sq interstitial block, and pretty happy with how it came out. Managed not to snap off any of the little internal dots. Looking forward to eventally printing with all of these at some point. My goal is to have some garb, made from handprinted by me fabric, by next 12th Night (or maybe sooner).

:::

Well dang! I found another apple variety "Envy" I really love... and wouldn't you know, it is from the same breeders ENZA in New Zealand that created Pacific Rose, and is equally unavailable for home growers. Both of these apples are sweet rather than tart, but the distinctive thing I like so much is how very fragrant, almost floral the flavor is... one can really tell that apple is actually in the rose family. Would that I could find something I liked as much to add to the garden here at Acorn Cottage.
:::

This is sort of creepy-wierd, but oddly compelling:

...on the other hand, this is a living, working museum of letterpress printmaking: "preservation through production"

:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf two dead garden hoses
5 yin yang wall quilt yard weeded yard waste bin
6 snowdrop block linen gown repaired -
7 Cathy underdress front trees pruned -
8 Cathy underdress toilet seat replaced -
9 charter painted green linen gown extended -
10 interstitial block - -
11 - - -
12 - - -


Saturday, February 27, 2016

a little on the side


in which our plucky heroine enjoys a bit of crafty fun...

I am continuing to make progress, albeit slowly, towards my goal of self-handprinted fabrics. Started carving this small (2" sq) interstitial block last night when I couldn't sleep... I had some leftover pieces when I cut the 5 x 7 block down to 5 x 5 (used for my confronted horses block), and decided that the smaller bits could then be used for other designs The idea is that it can either be used by itself, or in combination with the larger roundel blocks, to create the patterned fabric.
:::

Wednesday I took part of the day off to go visit Marya, and do a bit of charter painting... Painting charters is sort of like the current fad for adult coloring books, (save that the charters serve a specific function in our SCA world, being given to those who recieve certain honors within the group)  Filling in the spaces and adding patterning is so absorbing, like a kind of active meditation. I don't know why I like it so much. At some point I am going to try creating some charter designs myself, now that I am starting to get an idea of what sorts of things are possible and work well... There is always a need for new designs both at a local and regional level; at Kingdom level the scrolls are all done as original artworks for specific individuals (rather than the charters which are duplicated but have original paintwork)


I don't always start out with any particular plan in mind for what colors to put where, other than to try and keep the design balanced. For some reason the scrolling foliage and berries on this piece remind me of nightshade fruit...

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday fragments


in which our plucky heroine shares some signs of spring...

These are "ornamental plum" blossoms, from my two large front yard trees, which have pretty flowers for about two weeks of the year.  I just wish that Former Owner had planted fruit trees instead. Am already thinking about what to plant when these need to come down.

Yesterday afternoon, while it was sunny and surprisingly warm, Mr Dawson came down from Olympia with his assorted pruning equipment and gave my front yard trees their yearly makeover...
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The large branches were cut up for him to take home for oven wood, the smooth withies are piled in my side yard, and this big pile is the smaller brushy twiggy bits, which will gradually either go away or get turned into rocket stove fuel
:::

Huzzah for Bemis, manufacturer of toilet seats (and other things)! They have excellent customer service. When my less than a year old toilet seat cracked in half, I called them for advice. I didn't expect anything more than that, since I had not saved my reciept, but on hearing my entire story, they offered to replace it anyway... Well, they sent me an even better seat than I had originally purchased (this one is both self closing, detachable for cleaning, and is molded from a stronger material) Said new seat arrived this week, and has now been given "pride of place" in the Acorn Cottage biffie.
:::


Pink hellebore flowers in the front walkway garden bed are so pretty in the sunlight this morning. These were a gift years ago from my friend Sharon, and have been struggling to make a go of it in my front flowerbed... Last year we removed a big euphorbia, and I think the hellebore has enjoyed having more light. I'd love to have the white with dark spots, or the pale green with speckles, or the really really dark ones.
:::

One of many projects completed this week was sewing two simple linen Anglo-Saxon underdresses for Maeva. Eventually, over the next few months, she have an set of clothing suitable for an entire long weekend, and I look forward to bringing the different layers of clothing to life.
:::

Monday was the last day on my BOGO Metro paint coupon, and as this morning was both moderate and not raining, a transit jaunt down the their Swan Island facility seemed like a good idea. It necessitated bringing the Big Wheelie Cart so that I had an easy way to bring back two gallons of paint. The last time I tried hand carrying paint on the bus, I thought my arms and shoulders would never recover; this time I got some odd looks and comments walking from the bus stop pushing what looks a lot like an elderly grocery shopping basket on wheels.

My intention had been to get one each of Black and "Crater Lake" (a medium blue) so I could mix them to get a custom midnight blue paint. Unfortunately they are out of Crater Lake, and will be for quite some time. Since their paint is 100% recycled (and low VOC), some of the availability depends on what paints are being acquired. So, instead, I chose one of the limited edition colors, a pretty turquoise blue (there are sometimes colors available at the Swan Island store that are special, different than their standard colors) which will end up as an accent color here. Also it occurred to me that when I go to paint the exterior, it will work a lot better  be simpler if I can come up with a color scheme that doesn't involve mixing up custom colors.
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf two dead garden hoses
5 yin yang wall quilt yard weeded yard waste bin
6 snowdrop block linen gown repaired -
7 Cathy underdress front trees pruned -
8 Cathy underdress toilet seat replaced -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Monday, February 22, 2016

media Monday and some current goals


in which our plucky heroine shares some small progress, some good intentions and two bits of visual delight:


bittersweet, but lovely


textile techniques connect community
:::

Slowly working my way through various mending and repair projects, as well as beginning to make progress on new works. Am hoping for a week of greater productivity. So far have only managed to repair the peach linen gown made for little Asa, by extending the keyhole neckline to a length more suited to an actual cranium! Am currently altering last years green linen gown by adding dark green sleeve and hemline extensions, and am considering some small blockprinted decorations to tie the whole thing together. My goals for this week include some sewing for me, as well as completing two Anglo-Saxon undergowns for M, and a small enameled Laurel medallion for EBD. In addition, am hoping for progress on the declutter front, by moving as much of the assorted textile and fabric bits back into the sewing room, even though that will mean increasing the clutter-clobber in there temporarily. Wish me luck!
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf two dead garden hoses
5 yin yang wall quilt yard weeded -
6 snowdrop block linen gown repaired -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Thursday, February 18, 2016

battered but unbowed


in which our plucky heroine tries something different...

Tonight was the first of a six week Thursday evening writing group for cancer survivors that I am attending, and the theme tonight was "creative voice". There are two facilitators and about fifteen women of various ages and stories. I was a tad late to the meeting, after following some less than useful Tri-Met directions, but got there towards the end of "introductions" which went about as those sorts of things usually do.


The most interesting part of the evening was when we were given an assortment of random images of natural landscapes and it was suggested that we simply write whatever came to mind, a sort of free write inspired by the pictures. The image of a lanky cherry tree blossoming against a peeling city wall washed in several colors was my inspiration, and my words quickly filled an entire page in the new journal we had been given.

Once the time for that part was done, the next suggestion was to see if there were parts of what we had written that called out to us, and much to my surprise, these phrases almost arranged themselves:

scarred but subtle beauty
the damp shadow of what was once thriving
blossoming even in desolation
stalwart in continued life

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

wishful Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine notes that spring is coming...

This is my interpretation of the Janet Clare Wildflowers Quilt-a-long block for January: "snowdrop". Since I am not a quilter, but do sew my own clothing, that I would like to use the block designs to decorate the hemline of a pinafore dress (a staple garment in my wardrobe). And of course being my disobedient self, I am not doing the floral designs in her charming raw edged machine applique technique, but instead in simple embroidery more suited to a workaday garment.

I have set aside some grey corduroy for the (future) pinafore, and enough grey rayon jacquard for the twelve embroidered patches, which will be lined and then lightly quilted, before being pieced together into a hemline band. These blocks will be small enough projects that the squares can be completed in a few days transit time, in between other more elaborate tasks, and a grey, flower-trimmed pinafore in January 2017 will be a pleasant option, indeed there is a whole group of other grey fabrics set aside for a potential winter 6PAC wardrobe set. Am eager to see what Janet Clare will choose for the February floral block, and thereby shall learn a little bit more about British wildflowers as well
:::

Back to the SWAP sewing, finally, now that there is at least an imaginary gap in my schedule... indeed my intention is to go back to my former plan of taking a half hour in the early AM to work on sewing for myself, which is desperately needed. The next group in the SWAP will be one of the all-indigo ones. I have a partially cut out Viking apron/pinafore in a lovely jacquard indigo fabric, and some batik striped indigo that will be ideal for a basic dress. My least favorite part of sewing prep is cutting out. and once that is done, the project becomes a lot more interesting.

I'm not sure but that a second dress would be the best addition to the indigo group; I need dresses most of all, and there is other suitable fabric, but for now, will simply focus on preparing these two individual garment "kits" that include all the pieces cut out, thread, and whatever reference materials needed. For the pinafore, I want to try making some curved double welt pockets, just because I never have done that before, and it would be a great addition to my skill set. And it would echo my intended curved upper bodice edge on the pinafore. Seeking information, I found some online, which then led my to Threads # 62 which has an entire article on said curved welt pockets. I tend to prefer a clearly written article with good technical drawings to a video or photo essay for these sorts of reference.
:::

Our plucky heroine is wishing for a simple solution to the garden shed issues... The large shed in the back corner of the garden, put in place by Former Owner, and poorly built and sited to start out with, is now in need not of refurbishment but of removal. The entire back wall is becoming has been colonised by assorted types of mold, rather like tempeh or blue cheese, if one could imagine tempeh made from flakeboard. This means it is no longer a good place to store garden tools and lumber, which means that I will need to create different storage options, with no money and few resources. The only silver lining is that there will no longer be a shed in one of the best garden spots in the yard, which gets sunlight almost all day. I do wish I had the resources to build a smaller shed, one suitable for storing the lawn mower, and wheelbarrow, and the other yard tools and lumber
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf two dead garden hoses
5 yin yang wall quilt yard weeded -
6 snowdrop block - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -



Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Monday musings


in which our plucky heroine has a better than average Valentine's Day...

It started out with my pal Maeva driving down here early on Sunday morning from OlyWa, so we could meet Aelfled for brunch... which ended up being at Ocean City, my new favorite dim sum place. A's husband T joined us for brunch, so we had a sufficiency of people to allow a goodly variety of tasty morsels. The one egg custard bun leftover ended up an insanely popular chook treat, Nanny Og tried to run off with the entire bun, with hilarious if unsuccessful results (here, watch me try and capture a bun that is four times as big as my head)

Our intention with meeting Aelfledwas to have a chance to consult with her on planning a Kentish Anglo-Saxon wardrobe for M. I am less knowledgeable about other Dark Age clothing styles, and it was most informative. Since I will be doing the sewing on commission, knowing a bit more about appropriate construction and look is really helpful. Despite spending a goodly chunk of the rest of the day visiting Fabric Depot, Mill Ends and the Pendleton store, we were unsuccessful at finding either patterned or twill weave linen, or any suitable small patterned wool for a coat. M will continue seeking appropriate fabrics for the outer layers of gown and coat, while I will be able to start on the underlayers, which only require white linen that she already had on hand.
:::

The yin yang wall hanging is completed... about 42" square, hidden hanging loops just below the top edge. Machine applique, piecing and machine tie-quilted. A very different sort of artifact than most of my work... Time spent, approximately 17 hours.
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf two dead garden hoses
5 yin yang wall quilt yard weeded -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday fragments


In which our plucky heroine has been working on a different sort of project...

Despite the close to central place that sewing holds in my life, I am not a quilter. In fact I have made less than one hand of quilts in my entire manydecades of stitchery; I made a quilt when I went away to college, and one for my brothers child when he was born, and one for my parents 50th wedding anniversary. But somehow I am now making a pieced wall hanging, a green floral yin yang, that will hang in the treatment room of my beloved acupuncturist and friend Sharon Rose.

She suggested the design, and I made some quick sketches to clarify the details of the motif, size, and orientation.

This is going to be an interesting project (in a good way); it was sort of fun using geometry to construct the yin yang; the various parts are pinned in place on a muslin backing, then machine basted, which requires a lot of pins to hold the curved edges in place.

Thursday night I finished overstitching all the internal seams of the yin yang motif. They are done as lapped seams, first basted in place and then machine zigzagged as an overlay. Very different than my usual garment construction techniques, but very suitable for this use as wall art.

The additional steps needed will be to cut and stitch two borders around the motif, piece together the backing layer, create and attach the hanging strips, then cut out the batting and sandwich the layers together. At that point the wall hanging will need to be edge bound, and finally the layers will get tied together from the back so that the thread ends are not a visual distraction ...
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf two dead garden hoses
5 - yard weeded -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Thursday thoughts and travel


In which our plucky heroine notices that nothing remains the same...

On a short trip north to Seattle, I stopped to visit some of my Olympia pals. The studio eaves at Mud Bay now have bird wings and tail feathers.

The new rafter tails on the rebuilt back porch are heron heads

Old back porch being rebuilt, much more structurally sound, new porch railing and sides at a pleasant height with eaves well overhanging the sides, new lighting and a bay window addition to the rose bedroom...

Bill Dawson makes lovely sculptural light fixtures from wood and copper

:::

After an overnight on Sunday in Olympia, Heather and I met up with Karina for brunch in Seattle, in a little cafe with amusing terrariums.

I had another chance to catch up and gather hugs from dear friends who live in Seattle, and another overnight, after some business errands in Fremont. On the way to catch the first bus on a multi-bus journey home again, I saw that the morning fog had left dewdrops in spiderwebs alongside the park near where my friends Mickey and Eva-Lise live...
Dozed most of the way home on the Bolt bus back to Portland, 'til the roar of a Harley woke me as we were pulling into the city. Once home again, it was a treat to see how the seeds of order and beauty are growing and beginning to spread through Acorn Cottage, and I feel inspired to continue the process.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A bit of a catch-up on wishful Wednesday


In which our plucky heroine notes some of the progress made, of which there is quite a bit...

Blue Cedar House came visiting the past weekend; probably the most significant project was adding an LED shoplight to the workroom. The difference it makes is amazing! Getting better lighting into all the rooms has been an ongoing project here for years.
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new shoplight brightens the whole room ...and before, task lighting tries its best to be helpful
:::

The doorway in the small bedroom now has a linens shelf above it, suitable for holding the bed linens for the guest futon. Still needs to be painted, but is useable as is, painting will wait until it is warm outside, so windows can be opened...
:::

The ceiling fans here are less than useful, so one of the weekend projects was to remove the one in the workroom and replace it with a simple socket, so I could plug the iron into the ceiling instead of the wall. Project met a snag with unidentified wires, which hopefully will match this diagram. (Also got tips this weekend on ways to check which wires are actually doing what, as Former Owner did a lot of peculiar things)

The workroom fan, and the others eventually, will be replaced by light fixtures in the sleeping rooms and this grounded outlet ceiling tap and light in the workroom. It will get a smaller bulb and be used to plug the iron into the ceiling instead of the wall which will improve ironing immensely. Thank you Molly Beard for coming over this afternoon to help make this happen!
:::

Another Blue Cedar House project this past weekend was adding in another section of fencing to the hen pen in the backyard, spanning the distance between the shed and the current pen. This gives the chooks another good sized chunk of lawn to destroy, which makes all of us happy... They get fresh greens and bugs, and I get nice tasty eggs to eat

:::

These three, "teacher pinafores" for my friend Ariadne will be a useful addition to her schoolday wardrobe. They are easy to wear and have the capacious pockets so helpful for teachers...
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The first jumper-pinafore has a particularly fun way of combining fabrics: with hemline gores and a bodice yoke in a dotted stripe, that coordinates well with the large abstract floral fabric
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp new shoplight 2 bags to Goodwill
2 Jen jumper new ceiling tap workroom ceiling fan
3 Jen jumper extend chook fencing random flooring bits
4 Jen jumper overdoor shelf -
5 - yard weeded -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -


Wishful is that the shed in the backyard really does need demolished, as it is becoming colonized with several varieties of mold throughout the flakeboard walls. Pretty horrible. Now I need to acquire or build some different storage structures for the yard tools and equipment, and for the lumber/plywood that is currently stored in there. This is going to be an expensive proposition in both time and materials needed, and cost of disposal. Our plucky heroine is not happy.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Monday media and musings


in which our plucky heroine takes two steps forward and one step back...

when handicraft and history intersect... using exquisite papercraft as an illustration technique

:::

Was working on some paperwork sorting/decluttering tonight and realised I needed something normally stored in the Transformer Cabinet, but when I opened the door, the entire contents of the cupboard exploded outwards, dumping ancient paperwork and random stuff all over the living room floor! KAPOW!!

I just had to laugh... it was so unexpected, that door has been opened countless times without such a surprise. I am going to just bag it all up and stuff it back in the cabinet, as it is all ancient history, old records and random papercraft supplies, most of it will likely end up in recycling or in the bag to go to Shredfest later this year.
:::

This weekend I carved a small sparrow stamp, working on a seme of sparrows for Farbjorns heraldic device submission; rather than draw them each individually, the idea is to print them all on the heraldry submission form... not sure it will work, but even if not, this is a fun stamp... now to find some blue tape, tape off the form and see what happens...


Rough draft of concept... the printing works. I really like the effect of the identical birds. Definitely need to see if there is low tack blue tape, this tore the paper up badly. (on consultation with some friends, the suggestion was made to simply use another piece of paper to mask off the edges, as each bird is printed individually that would work and be really simple)
:::

February SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 carved bird stamp - 2 bags to Goodwill
2 - - -
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6
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7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -