Thursday, March 31, 2016

Charter #6


SCA Charter painting has become my minor recreation/obsession... Our plucky heroine develops these periodic enthusiasms, some last for years, and some don't. It sure is an enjoyable ride at the time though, and am having quite a lot of fun with it. I spent an hour or two every day for the past week on this charter (based on Roman Vergil). Looking at an image of the original inspiration for the design is very helpful for choosing an approach to the painting and color scheme...

maybe a quarter of the way done... it looks really red and russet right now, but there is a lot more background and shading and details to add

Added in the dark green background (and a bit more shading and detailing) I like how the darker background changes the whole character of the image. Started wondering about adding some relatively subtle patterning to the floor... the background and reddish purple (couch?) will have additional shading added, but the floor feels awfully plain and sort of stands out more than feels balanced. Some image searching found this very simple Roman mosaic floor

Getting the effect of mosaic flooring using one of my favorite things: tiny dots!

and a few more details added... some additional borders and fringes to the triangular bit between the bolster and the person, and some tiny detailing to the upper shoulder on the garment.

As more details get added, the overall image takes on more depth... Still need to do the shading of the background, and all the assorted highlights on the drapery of the garments and the wall hangings, and finish up the floor patterning...

Finished the tile floor, and added shading to the drapery background. Still needs highlights on the red swags in the background, and a bit of black line touch-ups, and then it is done...

My 4th charter painting completed,. Between the complex mixed and layered colors and the challenging stylized shading in this Roman-style charter, it has definitely been educational.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

slow rising


It has been a long slow haul from back from pneumonia... While our plucky heroine is not where she once was, at least the landscape is gradually becoming familiar.

This month will not show great strides in any of my SMART goal categories, but remaining alive and healing well are part of what constitutes meta-goals. This week has seen a few firsts, like first bike ride since becoming ill, first long bus ride since becoming ill, and first grocery shopping trip since becoming ill. All of which were exhausting. Today Marya and I went for a walk; the sky was a clear springtime blue, and the temperature was over 70F. Again with the exhaustion, but with constant effort my stamina will surely return; I remain firmly in the "use it" camp and refuse to shift over to the "lose it" camp. The walk was punctuated by all sorts of springtime blossoms, including these plum blossoms (upper left) and the maple flowers, and their unfolding leaves just below -

The big rosemary bush in the alley three blocks away was almost vibrating with the hum of the honeybees, who were really enjoying how covered it was with flowers... I wonder what rosemary honey tastes like?

:::

March SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 bee Laurel enamel L linen gown extended yard waste bin
2 charter painted L wool apron dress yard waste bin
3 charter painted - -
4 charter painted - -
5 original charter design - -
6 charter painted - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Saturday, March 19, 2016

an Ottoman charter design, and more painting


our plucky heroine seeks equanimity and patience whilst convalescing

As a way to attempt to keep myself from going stir crazy with boredom while my lungs slowly recover from pneumonia, decided to start on some sketching out of a potential Golden Torc* master charter design (for the Barony of Three Mountains), based on Ottoman artwork of the 13/14th C.

My initial layout idea is for two narrow decorative panels at the top and bottom of the page, with room in the center for the award text, and space set aside at the bottom for the Baronial seal, this is the bottom decorative panel. The larger flowers were inspired by this image, and the groundline and small foliage inspired by this image. By the end of Thursday, I'd achieved this partially inked charter design... still needed to choose and draw and ink the decorations for the upper panel, but I was pleased with the design so far...

and Friday's effort saw the imagery completed and ready for the calligrapher to add the award text to the master scroll design...
It was a lot of fun adding the decorative details to the upper panel. I gathered inspiration for the small people from a book of constellations, and added in the birds and plants inspired by pages from a book of natural history


my first Baronial charter master design
:::

Prior to starting on the original charter design project this week, I also painted another two charters, one for the local Barony, and one for a Kingdom award, a Jambe charter:
.
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March SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 bee Laurel enamel L linen gown extended yard waste bin
2 charter painted - yard waste bin
3 charter painted - -
4 charter painted - -
5 original charter design - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

*The Golden Torc award is a commendation: "given at the discretion of the Baronial Coronet as a token of thanks and appreciation"

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

not going bonkers


In which our plucky heroine attempts to maintain sanity while not having enough wind for usual activities of daily life, like cooking and dishwashing and walking to the corner store...

It is going to be a long road back to full health, apparently. Indeed, right now even standing long enough to cut out fabric for sewing is beyond exhausting. I asked my friend Marya to send over some SCA charters* for me to paint, as that is about the speed of activity I can manage for now. Sit up for a bit and paint, then go back to sleep some more, repeat at an appropriate speed.
It took me all day to slowly work my way through this one yesterday... I had fun adding all the colors to the tail feathers on the peacock at the bottom of the small (8½ x 11) Baronial Golden Torc charter. I am starting to think about creating some original charter designs to offer, once I am feeling just a tad better. The local Barony is looking for designs on an  13th/14th century Ottoman/Turkish theme, and there is a lot of visual data available online; I love drawing and it is a pleasure to think something I have some ability with could be of use!
*charters are xeroxed copies of original line art, which are hand painted and presented as "certificates" of particular honors given within our organization. Volunteering to create new charter designs, or to paint them in preparation to use, is a way of being of service to the local group

:::

March SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 bee Laurel enamel L linen gown extended yard waste bin
2 charter painted - yard waste bin
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Monday, March 14, 2016

long row to hoe


in which our plucky heroine begins to recover health in a seriously incremental fashion...

I am still really weak. Recovery is proceeding on a geologic time scale, but it is happening; I guess a positive sign is that I at least be wanting to do stuff, even if not yet with enough puff to do so at all. Grateful for the continuing assistance... Jess came by today in the middle of the day, kept me company, cooked up some halloumi (from OlyWa) for my lunch, lent me Labyrinth so I had a movie to watch, washed a bunch of dishes, and encouraged me to both rest and to continue drinking tea to stay hydrated.

Had some seriously loud hail today, in several waves... there has been lots of wind and rain as is usual at this time of year, but the drumming of the hail on the steel attic ventilator turbines and carport roof was quite astonishing! Jess managed to get a photo of some of it, before it all melted away, there was quite enough to actually impede the front door for a few minutes.

I am going to wait to celebrate Pi Day till I feel well enough to bake. Yesterday I attempted to help Karen make crustless quiche, but grating the cheese was more than I had strength to do, ditto beating the half dozen eggs. I am righteously tired of being this sick and sick of being this tired... hopefully before too long I will at least have enough energy to do something other than sit, rest, shower, or sleep. Has been eleven days of sick so far, but have at least turned the corner, albeit very very slowly. Everyone says that this kind of pneumonia will require a lengthy convalescence.

Fortunately my helpful friends that were here this weekend left me a useful assortment of already cooked just needs to be heated up meal components: meatloaf, quiche, cooked winter squash, and steamed veggies. This combined with the jars of homemade soup that C made for me when I first became so ill, will keep me going for quite some time.

Extra thanks to Farbjorn last week and Freydis this week for cleanup detail, all that remains of the giant brush pile is an assortment of sticks scattered about the wakening lawn:

:::

March SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 bee Laurel enamel L linen gown extended yard waste bin
2 - - yard waste bin
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

wishful Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine wishes for full oxygenation

My pals Jess and Cindy came over yesterday planning to help out and make me some homemade chicken soup, but by the middle of the day I was having some real trouble breathing, so instead, off to Urgent Care became the order of the day... After being jumped to the head of the line (which has never happened to me at Urgent Care, I ended up with an EKG, two nebulizer breathing treatments, and a chest xray. When they still couldn't get my O2 up to a good place, they sent me on to the ER, where I then spent the rest of the afternoon into the evening. (Somewhere in there the horrid fever I'd had for five days abated, but I still was feeling pretty awful)

Very glad not to HAVE to stay overnight in hospital, after hours of tests, more EKG, and another nebuliser treatment I was really wanting my own bed, and preferably some actual food prior to said bed...(although the supplemental oxygen was really nice).  According to their tests what I have is some viral human walking pneumonia. I have instructions for followup care and two new inhalers. Whoo hoo... not my best day ever, but am very grateful to Jess for patiently transporting me, and Cindy for holding down the fort here at Acorn Cottage. I fear that it will be a while before our plucky heroine is her usual bouncy self, since right now walking from the front door to the driveway is pretty exhausting... but thank goodness for living in these modern times and not in the actual Middle Ages, and that I now have insurance coverage and could get medical attention, since not that long ago, that wasn't an option for me

so, my wish for today is for a return to healthy lung function and full activity!

Monday, March 7, 2016

overly warm

still sick, still feverish, 102F, not a happy camper today

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Saturday snivel


in which our plucky heroine is laid low... aching, coughing, feverish... this is not what I had planned for this weekend... just let the chickens out of their house for the day and going directly back to bed... sick girl is sick and I am not a happy camper, was hoping to spend the weekend with my Blue Cedar House pals, and instead am too ill to do anything fun at all. Grump grump grump... sleep... so boring and so necessary. I hate being sick

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday fragments


The current regalia project is completed - a Laurel medallion pendant with an overall engraved diapered pattern with stamped bees, referring to my clients personal heraldry.

This setting is the most simple in my repertoire, just a fine silver serrated bezel with a plain back and no borders. With how elaborate the enamel is, the narrow border makes a good frame. The back of the piece has both a loop bail for wearing as a pendant, and brooch findings so it can either be worn as a pin, or pinned in place while being worn as a pendant.


And... just to give a better idea of the scale, here is the finished piece in the palm of my hand...
:::


March SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 bee Laurel enamel L linen gown extended yard waste bin
2 - - -
3 - - -
4 - - -
5 - - -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Bizzy buzz buzz...


On Monday our plucky heroine started on this Laurel medallion commission, and completed the initial base layers of engraving the diapering pattern, stamping the bees, and applying the pale violet transparent enamel...

Today it was time for step number next: to carefully shape painted* lines for the stems of the Laurel wreath, then fire at 1500F. When cool, begin adding laurel leaves...

Tiny, less than 1/8", leaves are painted in suitable locations along the stems. Then the edges of the leaves are carefully shaped (using tiny brushes) to have crisp edges. Once the oil evaporates, the piece will be fired again...

2nd layer of enamel on the leaves, lighter green highlights... I'm thinking that one more round of darker green to finish detailing the leaves and the enamel will be ready to have a setting built for it

Finally the enamel portion of the medallion is completed... at the bottom edge of the photo is a fragment of transparent ruler, showing how the actual enamel is just about an inch across. I particularly love how the painted enamel has an almost dimensional effect, being just a little bit raised from the surface of the transparent background.

*painting enamel (Limoges technique) is done with powdered glass of approximately talcum powder fineness, which I use mixed with lavender oil as a medium. Once applied to the surface, I then use a damp 10/0 paintbrush to refine the edges and details of the line

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Tuesday tidbits, or simple pleasures for simple people.


... in which our plucky heroine proves that you can teach an old dog new tricks...

A fair amount of eggs get eaten here at Acorn Cottage, courtesy of Nanny Og and Boneclaw Mother. However, their eggs are usually either scrambled, or omelet-ed, or turned into part of something else, and not boiled. Despite a reliable eggspell from my sister, which guarantees a perfectly cooked yolk with no green ring, my fresh from the hens eggs invariably stick to the shells when I try and peel them after cooking.

While perusing Cook's Illustrated while waiting in the checkout line, an article promised "Easy-Peel Hard-Cooked Eggs" - using a technique of steaming them for about 13 mintues and then chilling them immediately in iced water for 15 minutes. Apparently putting the eggs directly into the hot steam, rather than in a cold pan of water which is then brought to a boil has an effect on the interface between the egg and the eggshell. While initially dubious, I must say that it worked like a charm, yielding eggs that are not only perfectly cooked, but indeed, perfectly easy to peel!