Tuesday, June 28, 2016

as long as memory lasts...


21 blueberries, picked from the plant just outside the south window of the living room. The plant was a housewarming gift from my late friend Larissa, and with every bit of tiny sweetness that the blueberry returns to me, I remember her...

Sunday, June 26, 2016

weekend fragments


in which our plucky heroine leaves the pomodoro timer on for most of the weekend...

prepped five quarts of soup for freezing Team Dinner achievement unlocked, before 10 AM... five quarts of soup now prepped and in freezer - four meat/veg mushroom barley, and one sans onion or mushroom but still gorram tasty (I checked)... oh pomodoro, how far can you make me go!
:::

Just accidentally read this on Terri Windling's blog and it hit me hard:
"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default."
- J. K. Rowling (from her TED talk on failure)

So much of the time, I feel like my life is defined by my myriad fears, and I can no longer ignore how much fear has limited the tale of my life. I have struggled and struggled, on my own and with help. Our plucky heroine is exhausted, and reaching for some feeling of hope.
:::

These are what I was working on yesterday. I rather got stuck in the "no enamel will be the boss of me" mode last night. Micro-regalia; a Crystal Rainbow, and Baron and Baroness favors. The enamels are only 1/2" diameter. Once they have been set as brooches, these will join the set of micro-regalia Roman style brooches I made for Tullia...
:::

One good thing about Sunday Parkways is that one of the many cross streets full of chuckholes in the neighborhood now has had a layer of pebble/asphalt filling the worst of them, so that street at least (which is part of the route), is now a lot safer for bicycle riding. Sad though, that the Portland Police "exchange your cable lock for a U lock" booth ran out of locks within the first hour of the event. Mr Policeman was very apologetic, said that they really underestimated the demand...
:::

Kiln is turned off for the night and am winding down with audiobook of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, and some handstitching on my new sleeping hood. Somehow, trying out new things in stitchery is restful, in a way that studiowork never is... I am not only hand stitching this project, but am intending to attempt some of the finishing stitchery techniques used on the Herjolfsnes clothing...
Seam finishing on the inside back seam of the sleeping hood... the overcasting/couching down along the raw edge of the seam (a historical technique) appears to be working well. The rest of the seams on the hood are done differently, seamed separately, with the outside layer having the raw edges of the seam allowance simply held down with a running stitch in wool, and the inside Polartec layer done with a lapped overcast seam, for maximum smoothness and less bulk.

Back seam allowance width has been cut down to about 3/8". I figure if the narrow wool at the center back of the hood ends up being annoyingly itchy while in use as a sleeping hood, I can always go back and stitch a thin strip of silk or linen over it.
:::

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 damasquinado added undergown trim bag to Goodwill
2 charter #10 add octopus hook bag to Goodwill
3 charter #11 pruned culinary sage bag to Goodwill
4 Farbjorn undertunic pruned forsythia bag to Goodwill
5 Farbjorn undertunic patch F undertunic bag to Goodwill
6 Farbjorn undertunic mended plaid gown 200# shed debris
7 Golden Stars
charter master
- yard waste bin
8 two micro enamels - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

a cozy sleeping hood


in which our plucky heroine starts on what may seem an oddball project, a new sleeping hood...

A while back, my pal Luz Clara gave me some beautiful wool yardage that was handwoven by her mother... I decided that a new SCA hood would be a great use for a portion of it. Back in the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages, a hood was a common garment, it keeps the head and shoulders warm, and was made in many different styles over the centuries and in different locations. Since I do medieval re-creation as a hobby, and I also live in a poorly insulated house, this will be useful to keep me warm both in my everyday life in the wintertime here, and also to keep my head warm while sleeping in a tent at outdoor summertime events.

I first made a "sleeping hood" years ago, after getting tired of trying to pull my blankets over my head in the middle of the night while camping; that hood was wool, which I lined with cotton flannel for softness. Learned in time that cotton flannel gets quite clammy with any moisture at all, and compared to wool it is nowhere near as durable.  So this new hood will combine the best of ancient technology with the useful modern textile tech as well... The outside will be beautiful handwoven wool, and the lining pieces will be cut from some excellent vintage Polartec fleece that I bought on a longago trip to Massachusettes where we stopped at the old Malden Mills location and I brought home some high quality technical fleece. Other garments made from that fleece have worn like iron, though much softer!

My inspiration for this hood is the garments found in Herjolfsnes, a settlement begun in the 10th century in Greenland... there were quite a few different medieval hoods among the archeological finds. I am hand stitching this project.

This is the center front, where the gore joins the center seam.

The tablet woven Laurel trim I made back in 2014 looks really nice with the green stripey wool, and once the hood is assembled and lined, it will be stitched in place.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Tuesday tidbits


in which our plucky heroine happily completes a project...
 
Bone discs have been added to the centers of this pair of Roman style brooches using through tube rivets, and these are now complete, and will become part of Tullia's collection.

They were started on June 7th. At the time, I wrote "...have made a good start on another pair of Roman brooches. This set will have concentric raised applied rings as a motif. The photo shows one base plate trimmed and filed, one still waiting to be trimmed, and two inner rings soldered but still needing to be shaped circular. The inner rings will be soldered to the base, as the next step. Then the central disc will be added, findings on the back, and the whole set will be smoothed and polished (after being treated to remove the copper layer, formed when soldering, from the surface of the brass, which will return it to a golden color.)"

While dealing with soldering the brass was quite a challenge, since it behaves entirely differently than silver, it eventually was persuaded to take the shapes planned for, although it did need to spend a week on the workbench lest I tear my remaining hair clean off!  And... a photo showing an original archeological find of the same style of Roman brooch:


Monday, June 20, 2016

snippets and song


in which our plucky heroine looks to the past and the future...

An assortment of slides 40 to 60 years old, and a manual daylight slide viewer... this arrived on my doorstep with today's post. There are images of me as an infant, and images from family vacations I have no memory of, and pictures of my parents younger than my siblings have been for decades now...

Indeed there are photos of my parents where my father looks much like my big little brother does now, photos where my siblings look like unknown strangers, and some where my parents look equally unfamiliar; my mother as a young beatnik, my father with a beard...

I shall do some research on DIY methods of maybe accessing some of these images, which are mostly not in very good condition. The newer slides have definitely degraded color quality, faded in a way that now looks very much like a "vintage photo" filter, and the older slides, with much more robust color, have strange artifacts like growths on the surfaces of some of them... still, it would be a treat to have them in a digital form as well as their current fragile state.
:::

While I was initially frustrated at the multiple glitches in my first attempt at this design, I am quite pleased with new revised Golden Stars charter master (corrected size from 8 1/2 x 11 to 11 x 14, corrected futhark text from younger futhark to elder futhark variation, altered edge border design and lower Norse interlace motifs...) This award is given to children, in the Principality of the Summits, who have been particularly helpful in various ways, those who, as the text mentions "... display... the seeds of chivalry and service that will surely blossom..."

In my design I have tried to create imagery that would be appealing to a child, making a design that would be enjoyable for the volunteer painters, with motifs that are complicated enough to look well painted simply, while also allowing for as much elaboration as a volunteer painter would feel inspired to add. Basically whenever I have created a charter master, I try and make it a design I would enjoy painting!
:::


Tim O'Brien & Darrell Scott - Walk Beside Me
:::
June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 damasquinado added undergown trim bag to Goodwill
2 charter #10 add octopus hook bag to Goodwill
3 charter #11 pruned culinary sage bag to Goodwill
4 Farbjorn undertunic pruned forsythia bag to Goodwill
5 Farbjorn undertunic patch F undertunic bag to Goodwill
6 Farbjorn undertunic mended plaid gown 200# shed debris
7 Golden Stars
charter master
- yard waste bin
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Thursday tidbit and a charter mishap

in which our plucky heroine finds a sleepy bumblebee...

Went outside to do a little pruning before setting the wheelie bins out for trash and recycling pickup tomorrow morning, and found this bumble fast asleep in the forsythia bush. Research says that male bumblebees often sleep outside, so I guess this is a boy.

This might be the most adorable thing I have ever found in the yard... (well, except for Henny Penny, the little lost chicken... she was pretty adorable too!)


Yesterday I took the afternoon off for a necessary break, and went over to spend some time with Marya. I decided to work on a new Summits charter master design, for the Golden Stars children's service award... and by dinnertime it was almost but not entirely completed. I still needed to finish the runic inscription and erase the remaining pencil lines.


This was the first charter that I had attempted any text, as my usual efforts are all drawing or painting, and not calligraphy. Unfortunately, due to a miscommunication between the charter coordinator and myself, all the text needs to be removed and redone. Now I know, when told "use runes" to ask "which ones"... there are two major runic futhark, and a number of variants. The one I chose to work in, although appropriate for the time period, was not the right one...
Helpful Viking Age children are helping, helpful Viking dog is hoping...

June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 damasquinado added undergown trim bag to Goodwill
2 charter #10 add octopus hook bag to Goodwill
3 charter #11 pruned culinary sage bag to Goodwill
4 Farbjorn undertunic pruned forsythia bag to Goodwill
5 Farbjorn undertunic - bag to Goodwill
6 - - 200# shed debris
7 - - yard waste bin
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

snippets and sorrow


in which our plucky heroine returns to blogland...

So many tears this weekend, and sometimes I despair for our species (and our biosphere)...my heart keeps breaking again and again... the only antidote I can manage is to make what efforts I can towards a world that makes sense to me, a world with caring and creativity and kindness and room for all. I am grateful to have spent the weekend with my Blue Cedar House folks...

the final load of shed debris gone, was another 220 lbs, which brings the total to just over 1500 pounds gone...and the backyard is reclaimed for use and beauty.



Hoping to get the new chicken habitat built over the summer, a new house and moveable chicken hurdles to allow for more rotational grazing in my wee backyard. The open space will become chicken rotational grazing space, and garden fruit tree space. There are two feral prune plum trees, that were growing around the back and side of the shed; I'll be doing some summer pruning to begin lowering them into reach, and clearing away some of the excess branches that were unreachable before.


Farbjorn cut away the metal debris, pulled the remaining nails, and neatly stacked the 2x lumber salvaged from the shed roof trusses, to form the base of this "burglar trap" on the back deck... seems like a good spot to also stack up some of the rolls of foraged galvanised mesh


Some new planters add additional growing spaces to Acorn Cottage. Maeva suggested that a narrow planter just outside the front porch could grow beans in the summer and they could run up to the porch roof and provide a bit of shade... The concrete brick just visible is used to level the planter on the uneven ground, and to raise the legs above the ground, so they will avoid decomposition


A good reuse of salvaged cedar fence boards, foraged galvanised mesh and scrap lumber. Almost finished, still need to line the box with windowscreening to contain the planting mix, and then add plants or seeds, and water! (It also occurrs to me that this would be an awesome planter to put spring bulbs in, for early in the year...)

The rest of the salvaged cedar fence boards became this raised planter out along the "devil strip" between the sidewalk and the street... full sun most of the day, so this new baby elder plant (Sambucus nigra "Thundercloud")will need supplemental water at least for the first year. This variety of elderberry will have dark leaves, pink flowers, and hopefully eventually a good crop of useful elderberries..

All in all it was a busy weekend:
200 lbs of debris to the transfer station
three undertunics for Farbjorn (need neckline hems done)
one indigo linen apron dress for Thora (need binding sewn down)
pieces cut out for new chicken house
new planter box for front porch
new planter box for devil strip
both compost bins full of weeds pulled
small chicken yard full of weeds pulled
front and back yards mowed


June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 damasquinado added undergown trim bag to Goodwill
2 charter #10 add octopus hook bag to Goodwill
3 charter #11 - bag to Goodwill
4 Farbjorn undertunic - bag to Goodwill
5 - - bag to Goodwill
6 - - 200# shed debris
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Monday, June 6, 2016

Musings and media Monday


in which our plucky heroine decided that the empty space, above the embroidery, on these gown cuffs would be a great spot to apply the one of the sample block printed bands I made earlier this year...

***

Here is how some of our most necessary sewing tools are manufactured, a very different process than making them by hand:
***

This weekend was hard, with temperatures over 100F. At night, by around 9:30 PM house achieved equilibrium with the outdoor temperature... both were 82F! Chickens survived, and I made sure that there were extra waterers in place, and Saturday I even added some leftover ice cubes to the big one, to help keep it cooler. About half the time there were two eggs in the henhouse, when I ventured outside just long enough to make sure they had enough water. Scrub jays have been seen drinking from the chook waterers.
***

There is a layer of pollen all across the top of the chook food container in the carport. Trees have poor boundaries and do not understand consent. I wish that they wouldn't leave their sperm around to find it's way up my nose and into my sinuses. Even folks that don't usually have allergies are finding this year difficult.

A closer look: the pollen balls are HUGE this year! No wonder our plucky heroine has been suffering horrid sneezing allergy fits. Fortunately, I am often able to ease the itching by drinking some of my electrolyte/vitamin C drink, and am not reduced to taking antihistamines, which leave me stupifyingly sleepy.

***

I have an interim goal. After logging in my SMART goals achieved in May, I noticed that my category for "things gone" is far behind my other categories so far this year. My goal is to discard at least 12 grocery bags of stuff in June, which will have me, while not anywhere near as far as my "things made" category, which is going like gangbusters, at least up to the intended line of thirty so far this year.
June SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 damasquinado added undergown trim bag to Goodwill
2 charter #10 - bag to Goodwill
3 - - bag to Goodwill
4 - - bag to Goodwill
5 - - bag to Goodwill
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Egils 42


Almost every year for almost the last twenty, our plucky heroine goes to the Egil Skallagrimson Memorial Tournament...

Our household, Caer Lutris, has this lovely spot next to a big pond...(Frogsong yay, hungry mosquitoes boo!) In addition to the pleasure of a long weekend spent with friends, I was fortunate to take a workshop on a beautiful esoteric metalworking skill, had the pleasure of teaching an introductory leatherworking class that had all ten spots filled and a waiting list, and was surprised not once but twice in court: on Saturday with a "Friend of The Summits" award*, and on Sunday with an Adiantum "Baronial Brownie" (for service to the Barony of Adiantum) The event was fun, exhausting, too warm, and thoroughly worthwhile; I missed eventing so much last year, as my injured knee last year precluded such activity.
***

I was fortunate to be one of the six people taking the three hour workshop on Damasquinado de Oro (applying precious metal foil to steel, to create decorative motifs) at Egils this last weekend, taught by Jarl Sir Styrkarr. . Here he is showing us how to use the scalpel knife to texture the steel ground used in the technique

A closer view of how to hold the knife and showing the beginning of applying parallel cuts to the steel surface

This curious object is "the cannonball", a very clever vise used to hold the pitch block that holds the steel substrate. The combination of the sphere and the base allows moving the block in any direction or angle, and the holdfast bolt makes a good handle

After applying the gold to the surface with a wooden tool, the edges of the design are cut to match the motif. I am quite concentrating here, as Ursel watches...

Ursel and I worked our pieces on the same pitch block, taking turns... here she is tamping her gold foil in place, while my piece has had the design tamped, edges cut, and is waiting to have the matt tool used, to crimp the gold foil down permanently

The result of my efforts in the three hour workshop, with chased line details added by Styrkarr. This small piece of decorated steel, about 1 1/2" across, will probably become a pendant...

I wish I had managed to get pictures of all six of the pieces made in in the class... the lefthand one was made by Angelique, and the righthand one by Brizio...
.
***

Even in my rudimentary garden, everything is running about a month or so ahead of normal this year. The night before leaving for the event, noticed that all the garlic has well formed garlic scapes (blossom stalks) which usually show up in mid June. They need cut off, so the plants put all their energy into forming garlic cloves, not making flowers and seeds.

So, I did a June task in late May, and harvested about 10 ounces of scapes. They are good cooked, and even better pickled. Texture a bit like asparagus, and taste mildly garlicky. When I asked Cathy about her recipe for pickled garlic scapes, she said she uses the recipe in Joy of Cooking for dilly beans... but my edition of Joy is missing that recipe (and has very few preserving recipes at all). Kindly she sent me the recipe, and while I hate to heat up the kitchen in the middle of this heat wave, a few jars of pickled garlic scapes will be worth it!
***

* "Given to those who reside outside the borders of the Principality of the Summits and who make great and note-worthy contributions in support of the Principality. Recipients are entitled to wear the Symbol of the Award, an Argent grail on an Azure field."

Friday, June 3, 2016

hot but not fun


in which our plucky heroine tries not to be grouchy...

...because in my fantasy, my house is insulated. and there is external shade on the east and west sides. Deciduous shade. and a whole house fan in the attic, to draw in cool air at night, in the summertime.

NOAA says that we are in for a hotter and drier summer than usual, and this weekend is ramping up to be the first really intense example. Forecast is for highs between 100 to 102F. Fortunately it is still early summer, and hence even with the temperature in the triple digits, it is cooling down at night, which means that fans can be run in the early morning to help keep Acorn Cottage from becoming Acorn Oven. Later in the summer it will be harder.

I was worried because I've been hiding in the house, and couldn't hear the chickens... went and checked and they have dug holes in the nice cool dirt, under the shady trees, resting and taking chicken dirt baths
***

Hardy fuschia blossoms along the front walkway... I love this plant, it does well and springs back up every year with no real input from me other than cutting back the dead foliage once a year. And it has these vivid small flowers every summer!

I'm going to scavenge around the house to find water-holding containers for the few plants I am trying to baby through the summer. The persimmon tree is one that apparently likes summer water, and I just noticed that the grape I put in a few months ago is looking super stressed, so needs some help. A bucket with a small hole will gradually disperse water, and can be filled with gatherings from waiting for water to get hot for dishwashing or showering.