Wednesday, February 28, 2018

bits and pieces

in which our plucky heroine reflects on progress accomplished and needed...


The details of shading and whitework on the tiny heart shaped leaves, along the top edge of the fourth charter painting of the year.


The charter as a whole... This was a new style for me to paint, and I am rather charmed with the design, which feels very lighthearted somehow. My friend Marya created the master design, and did a good job of interpreting it for scroll painting, and unlike the last one, was fairly quick to complete.



Am rather pleased with the improvements in my shading and highlighting, and my first attempt to paint acanthus leaves. One of my future goals is to look at a number of manuscripts and figure out ways that they used to shade and color acanthus, and do some samples, so as to have several possible ways to use, for variety and depending on the particular historical style

It may be time to start a sort of Scribal Notebook, with a record of various things like diapering patterns for fillers, line end art possibilities, and ways of using gouache paint to create dimensional effects appropriate to the world of the Middle Ages....
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I've been working on finding kaizen changes I can make in what and how I eat, with the intention of shifting the ever gradually rising number on the scale, which is reflected in the ever increasing pain and difficulty in moving the meatsuit in time and space. Since I began this project, I have moved that number down fifteen pounds.

First by deciding to not drink milk as my beverage of choice on a constant basis. I realise that this sounds odd, but for me, milk has been, along with water, (and formerly but no longer fruit juice), the only beverage I like to drink. Changing from that to water has made a small but noticeable difference.

My next change was to have at least half my breakfasts consist of cottage cheese with cooked veg, instead of fruit and chopped nuts and a double spoonful of rolled oats, topped with milk. My ongoing goal is to find more ways to shift the balance of what I eat to have more vegetable content, since I am never going to stop being an omnivore. (I was vegetarian for a number of years back in my thirties, and I was sick All The Time... it works for some people but not for others) That breakfast change shifted the numbers a little more.

No one would ever think to look at me that I had lost even an ounce, I don't know how much it would take for me to look any different at all. But if my legs hurt just a little bit less, that will make it worth all the efforts. These sorts of changes will take months, maybe years, to make a difference, and I have no intention of turning this into a slimming blog, but I figure that if I remember to write down things from time to time, it will help me notice how I am doing.
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SWAP 2018 sewing progress report: I still have a LOT of sewing left to do in the next two months, if I intend to actually complete SWAP in the allotted time. While taking all the time to make the Alabama Chanin style cardigan may not have been the most sensible use of the first two months of the years sewing time, it makes me Very Happy. I do have two of the remaining seven items already cut out and ready to sew, which will help.

1. black randomwale corduroy pinafore
2. black DWR rain poncho
3. black top or leggings
4. indigo dark denim pinafore (already made, from SWAP 2017)
5. indigo pinstripe top
6. indigo rayon popover (cut out and ready to sew)
7. brown knit top (can use RTW Uniqlo turtleneck)
8. brown/indigo plaid pinafore (cut out and ready to sew)
9. floral print cotton blouse
10. brown/black flannel top
11. Alabama Chanin style cotton jersey cardigan

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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade croquis revamp yard waste bin
5 new garden bed7 jars applesauce recycle glass
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 red deer enamel
x x
10 Romanesque charter x x
11 AoA charter x x
12 blue wool mitts x x
13 acanthus charter x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Tuesday knitbits

in which our plucky heroine takes a detour...

Log Cabin Mitts is a great pattern, fast and easy. Had I sat down to just bang out a pair, they might take less than a day, mine took a few days of scattered pickup knitting. However, I had somehow forgotten that my own wee paws are much smaller than ordinary women's hands, so the finished mitts are rather loose. A bit of felting/fulling will make them by a quick trip through the washing machine in a mesh bag, rendered them somewhat smaller with a tighter texture.

I will also likely make this pattern again, in various other yarns from stash, and just follow the directions to make them smaller to start with by knitting with smaller size needles! After all, several pairs of woolly mitts will help keep my poor cold hands from turning blue; last week they were almost as blue as the lovely Raven Clan Haida wool from Blue Moon Fibers.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade croquis revamp yard waste bin
5 new garden bed7 jars applesauce recycle glass
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 red deer enamel
x x
10 Romanesque charter x x
11 AoA charter x x
12 blue wool mitts x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, February 25, 2018

get a grip, and other Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine notices signs of spring...

Friday night a weather front came through, with howling winds and rain drumming on the roof and whirling the attic ventilator fans around and around. Sleep was interrupted. The snow and ice are melting away.

Today, Sunday the weather is a lot warmer, maybe in the 40's, though last night the wind was so strong that it again kept me from sleep, as the buffets of moving air, and intense spinning of the ventilators seemed to shake the house at intervals. Living on the Pacific Rim, keeping aware of shaking is never far from awareness, as it might not be just the wind...

Today, whilst out doing a few errands, there was birdsong. A whole flock of little brown birds decorated the trees and lawn of the neighbors house, and my ornamental plum trees were spangled with robins... further down the street a large group of corbies were foraging in some recently turned earth.

I am quite chuffed, as several emails from the neighborhood association have seemingly confirmed that I am on the list of those to be given a free fruit tree. It was a memorial donation to the neighborhood, and there were over 40 people who signed up. If all goes well, there will be a wee baby quince tree come to live here, as that was my first choice. I asked if the trees would be small enough to carry home on my bicycle, and was told that if not, they may be able to arrange transportation (for the tree) The trees are bare root, which are ususally smaller than potted trees, and we will be given a lecture about tree care and planting prior to the adoption, all in early March
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Have been working on a second charter painting, this one an AoA in the style of a medieval psalter. I often wish that the person who does the original charter artwork would also include in the credits which manuscripts they were looking at for inspiration, as that would really make it easier to choose suitable decorative details. For this one I looked at a number of pages in the Luttrell Psalter, for ideas about patterns and shading, and also a French medieval manuscript of the same era
actual size of the geometric diapering pattern is about 5/8" x 1½"...

I decided to attempt the decorative scrollwork around the capital initials, although the calligraphy was not exactly set up for it, because the other thing I find useful and pleasant about scroll painting is the opportunity to try new designs and techniques. I have not yet been able to get a clear enough image of the originals, though I am sure that the scrollwork was done with a Very Small Pen and Ink. In my case, I decided that using some very small Pigma Micron pens would be a good substitute!
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Some tidying yesterday turned up the mending basket, which has the gripper sole fabric left over from the slippers for my Dad. This means that I can now add the same to the wool house boots that I started at least fifteen years ago and never finished. They will be a good thing in the winter, being made of melton cloth, and with thick felted wool soles. I made them long enough ago that it was prior to my developing a hatred of purple clothing. They are blue, with purple applique stitched in bright green, much more gaudy than my current wardrobe.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade croquis revamp yard waste bin
5 new garden bed7 jars applesauce recycle glass
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 red deer enamel
x x
10 Romanesque charter x x
11 AoA charter x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Thursday, February 22, 2018

keeping on keeping on

in which our plucky heroine is feeling somewhat puny...

Yesterday, the packages in the freezer, which appeared to be chicken broth, when thawed, turned out to be applesauce. Now there are seven small jars of applesauce in the pantry, since I took the opportunity to put it up in jars instead. I realised the last time I was ill that homemade applesauce is a good thing to have on the emergency shelf, and adding a bit more is a good idea.
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Been feeling sort of a physical malaise, and decided to destress by working on another painted charter. This one was in a style that is new-to-me: Romanesque (9th to 11th C) This is how the finished charter turned out. Not my favorite style, but I think I did it justice. The color scheme is mostly based on colors often used in the Romanesque period; Marya put together sample paint palettes from various eras
I had to do quite a bit of online and book research to find motifs to decorate the charter design that were appropriate to this style.
The central cartouche, and a closer look at some of the patterned borders. The geometric "3-D" border at the top edge was easy to lay out, but quite time consuming to paint.


I was amused at the faux stone and marble columns in several of the images I found, and decided to try painting them... this was actually fun to do, and fairly simple.
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We have had more snow, last night, very light and fluffy snow. Today a great deal of it melted away, but the yard is still covered and side roads are not yet suitable for bike riding. Am getting frustrated with no bike rides and hence no trips to the pool either.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade croquis revamp yard waste bin
5 new garden bed7 jars applesauce recycle glass
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 red deer enamel
x x
10 Romanesque charter x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

I am grateful for food on hand, for a roof over my head, and for the current ability to keep the bills paid... and for the ability to rest when I need to...

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

wardrobe Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine does a bit more wardrobe planning...

After finishing my floral cardigan, it is time to start thinking about the rest of my 2018 SWAP sewing, as there are another 2½ months in which to finish seven or eight garments. I am feeling a bit of a disconnnect between my actual wardrobe needs, the SWAP requirements, and my desire to sew from stash. What my wardrobe is in real need of are four more popover summer dresses, 4 more pairs of cropped leggings, a few tops or blouses, a fleece jacket, a handknit cardigan, and some other random things like a new nightgown, bedroom slippers, some fingerless mitts, and a sunhat.

My current difficulty is that the pieces of knit fabrics I have, suitable for cropped leggings, do not coordinate with my SWAP, as I have it set up currently. The rayon fabrics I have for making popover dresses are mostly not solid colors. I am debating acquiring some indigo fabric dye and using that to solve the dilemma. It also occurred to me this morning, on the way out through the snow to the hen yard, that I could use some of the chunk of black velour to make a pair of black leggings, with the pile on the inside they would feel delightfully cozy!

I also did some croquis revision, since sketching out my ideas is easier with a template... I have a croquis I made and printed out back in 2009, but somehow in decluttering and reconfiguring my computer/office zone, I misplaced it. A bit of time with Photoshop, and I have a new page for wardrobe sketching. I took the original image, resized it, and set six of them on an 8½ x 11 page. After printing that out, I realised that it would work better if the croquis outlines were barely there, so I went back into Photoshop and reduced the contrast and increased the brightness, which gave me a page with pale grey outlines. Exactly what is needed, and will work better for my purposes than any storebought option. As I wrote nine years ago: "While it doesn't look much like what you see on a pattern envelope or in an advertisement, it looks a whole lot like what I see in the mirror..."

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With great effort, I am gradually getting through the emotional logjam that has been making my actual work really difficult. This week I started on the Goutte de Crystal/Red Hart pendant, as that is one of the two studio projects that have been "on backorder" for some time now. I think that scheduled specific workshop time every day will help getting back on track.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade croquis revamp yard waste bin
5 new garden bed- -
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 red deer enamel
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

it's not over yet...

in which our plucky heroine has a snow day...

there is a thick soft layer of snow all over... actually several inches at this point, on top of what fell earlier. It must have been very still last night, as every bit of fencing has a decorative trimming of powdery white...

When I tramped out to the hen enclosure, their door was slightly frozen shut, and opening it to the solidly white world did not improve the situation, as the ground is also frozen. The chooks are dubious...

Boneclaw Mother leans in to take a closer look...

"truly, you expect ladies of our gravity and age to sled down the ramp and romp in the snow? You must be joking! How about some warm water and porridge served in the chook house instead..."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

what I do with interstitial time...


in which our plucky heroine does some approximating...

I've been working on this cardigan for quite a while.
This is a loose-fitting outer layer, here worn with four underlayers as we have had a sudden cold snap, complete with snow! It will be comfy/casual in normal wear, but is large enough to fit over my current outfit (turtleneck, dress, wool pinafore and handknit wool vest) I am quite pleased with how this turned out.

For current and future reference, here are a few of the finishing details, and some close-up photos of the front snap closures:
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The edges are bound, with the front, cuff, and hemline edge binding extended to form a kind of facing. I made the hemline facing deeper, to add a bit more stability and weight to the bottom edge. All the edges except the neckline have all their stitching done in brown rather than grey, as I wanted that part of the construction to be less obtrusive. I found these lovely HUGE snaps for the closure, and modified the instructions from Alabama Chanin from a four hole to a six hole snap.

I added small additional pieces of the jersey knit on the interior of the cardigan to reinforce the snap stitchery, and then after stitching, trimmed most of the excess away neatly. I thought this would be preferable to using interfacing, which I have never had success with on knit fabric, as more in keeping with the A/C construction style. Having at least three layers of fabric backing each snap will add greater strength in use, and support the somewhat heavy snaps...

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Sunday snippets


in which our plucky heroine attempts to remember to count her blessings...

When I was in primary school, we hid under our desks because the Russian might send nuclear bombs, and I carefully memorised all the locations of "air raid shelters" in case the alarms sounded while I was out riding my bike. When I was in high school, we wore black armbands, and walked out of school to protest people being drafted to go kill people in Viet Nam, which we saw every night on the 6PM news... Nowadays the killing is local, and personally impersonal. I get off the bus when I see a younger man with an instrument case or a big duffel, because it might not be a guitar. The children in high school now are walking out in protest against being murdered where they live and learn. This is not the world I intended to grow up to live in...
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My friend E posted this song, from 1969, on FB today; I had forgotten it for a long time, but the message seems still sweetly and sadly relevant...

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And, in an entirely different mode, am still waiting for the pattern for the Haiku jacket to show up, but I figured that pre-shrinking the intended fabric would be a good start. This color-and-weave fabric is actually indigo/black and not just dark indigo, but since it visually reads as dark indigo, I am putting it in that neutral category for SWAP 2018. The fabric has two very different sides:
I sort of expected that after it came out of the dryer that it would have turned into a kind of waffle weave, but while it did tighten up a bit, it is still pretty flat, and still nicely drapey. If anything, I like it even more!

I finished the hand stitched cardigan today, but photos will have to wait until daylight. It was crazy weather today, with sunshine, rain, wind, hail, and giant snow feathers... still really cold again too!
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmaladebathrobe patched landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade - yard waste bin
5 new garden bed- -
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 finished A/C cardigan x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Today I am grateful for the nice clerk in the water bureau last week, who, when I went to renew my discount, very kindly pointed out that I could, at my age, be switched over to the permanent discount program, which will not require me to keep coming in to renew over and over again... I didn't even know that was an option, and felt most heartwarmed to have someone in a bureaucratic office offer me a random act of kindness.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Year of the Dog, or the Crafternoon that wasn't..

in which our plucky heroine is sad...

in honor of Lunar Year of the Dog, which started yesterday, I decided that the Crafternoon this month would have an Asian potluck theme, mostly because I also wanted to try making these pot stickers, that my sister in law Barb made for their Superb Owl shindig.

Assembling the pot stickers was much easier than I imagined, given that I could purchase the wrappers at Hong Fat grocery over on 82nd; making the wrappers is, I imagine, the hard part. (also, and incidentally the ginger hands at the market there are about three times the size of the ginger at my local market, and a lot fresher) Actually filling and folding them did not take as much time as I expected, and they freeze well. I will probably make them again. In a while. Because no one at all showed up today, so I have a LOT of uncooked pot stickers.

I did cook up a few of them for my lunch though (and they were delicious), and made some progress afterward on the final edge-binding on my Alabama Chanin style cardigan, before I succumbed to my sad heart and decided on an afternoon nap. Tomorrow is hopefully a better day. Not sure if Crafternoon is an idea that has run its course? Maybe a more specific invite with RSVP rather than the open house mode? I try and remind myself that it isn't about me, but merely that my friends have busy and complex lives.

tasty savory homemade pot stickers


Friday, February 16, 2018

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine struggles to shift focus...

Note to self: make certain burners on cooktop are turned off and cool before reaching across to deal with back of stove. Now I need to patch my bathrobe! Still, all is well that ends well, could have been much worse. Did I mention I hate my range... a gas stove is visibly either hot or off, an electric burner can be HOT without being visibly hot. Someday, if I am really really good, I will get a gas range for my birthday...
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Dishes are washed by hand here, as the 1950's kitchen has no mechanical dishwasher. Rather than use a sponge, my preference has always been for using dishcloths, which can get changed out fresh every day (or more often if needs must). I had, for a while, been using ones hand knitted from cotton yarn, that I made during my recovery from surgery five years ago, but truly, I loathe knitting with cotton yarn, and as those were wearing out, I came up with an alternative...

The oldest towel in the linen cupboard was worn thin and soft, while still quite sound (unlike our plucky heroine, who, though soft and cuddly, is neither thin or quite sound) I decided that rather than spend hours and hours of unpleasant knitting to create useful kitchen helpers, that cutting up said towel and serging the edges would serve my purpose much better. It took less than an hour altogether to cut the towel into suitable squares and run them through the serger, and now I have many more good dishwashing cloths, and have given that at least fifty year old towel a second life...
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Would that it were so simple to sort out health issues... two days ago I woke up with my right ankle screaming at me, for no reason I could discover. If acupuncture and massage doesn't shift the pain, I will have to make an appointment at the clinic to get seen by a medical practicioner, and get some idea of what is going on. There is no external indication of injury or inflammation that I can see. Sometimes it seems obvious why our lives are finite. Pain makes me tired and dysfunctional.

I have been trying to make my peace with my legs being out of warranty, ever since the brunch incident almost three years ago, when I tore the meniscus on my right knee, which eventually, while I cannot say it actually healed, did calm down. I have been dealing with my gorram left achilles tendon since summer 2016 which varies in pain but never actually stops hurting. To have both my legs yelling at me in entirely different types of pain with every step is akin to listening to dissonant sounds all day long and about as aggravating.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmalade- landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade - yard waste bin
5 new garden bed- -
6 blood orange marmalade x x
7 17 dishcloths x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

it's awesome...


in which our plucky heroine gets a little bit spicy...

The very last of the tomatoes in the freezer are about to be turned into Awesome Sauce. My plan to gradually shift the freezer contents onto the newly cleared pantry shelves, by transmogrifying them into shelf stable condiments and preserves, is proceeding well. As well, my lovely next door neighbors are also fond of Awesome Sauce, which means I can gift them with some as thanks for all the times that they watch my hens on the rare occasions that I am not home.
So simple, and so tasty if it is made from homegrown tomatoes. The times I have been gifted with tomatoes, I simply chuck the ones I do not immediately eat into the chest freezer in a bag. They need no preparation, and the process of freezing means that as they thaw, there will be a span of time when it is easy to slip off the tomato skins, which otherwise would entail faffing about with dipping the fresh tomatoes into boiling water, and then into ice water in order to skin them. I prefer the texture and taste of condiments made after removing the tomato skins. The almost defrosted tomatoes, either halved or whole, are easily chopped up in preparation for the low slow cooking down of the future Awesome Sauce (aka British Chili Jam)

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It has been a treat to ride about on my bike now that Farbjorn refurbished the chain with the dry lubricant... no more grindy-squeaky sounds, and it runs smoothly once again. I sped off to the local grocery store today for a few necessities, after my return from the Asian grocery earlier where I purchased gyoza (pot sticker) wrappers and ginger. I plan on making these dumplings for my crafternoon/stitch-n-bitch shindig on Saturday, as a nod to the start of Chinese Year of the Dog. It will be a noble experiment, as I have never made pot stickers from scratch before, but my sister in law made them for Superb Owl snacks, and if she can do it, I can too!
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Making slow progress on my SWAP sewing, but am now in the last stages of my Alabama Chanin style cardigan assembly (adding edge bindings to finish it) and then will be adding snaps for a front closure. I suppose then I shall need to decide what to sew next... probably the plaid wool pinafore, as it makes sense to get that put together while it is still early in the year and cold out! I am still amazed that fabric acquired at least ten years ago is such a perfect match.

I also am considering trying out a new to me pattern, the Sewing Workshop "Haiku Two" jacket. After reading Martha's blog post about the one she just completed, it occurred to me that it might be a good option for a loose fitting overlayer. The reviews on Patternreview all make note of how oversized it is, which means that it will likely fit without my needing to do serious pattern alterations, and the half raglan sleeves mean that my eternal bugaboo, my ridiculously narrow shoulders, shouldn't be an issue. Plus, gigantic pockets!! I have some textured indigo linen, which will hopefully have enough drape to work with the pattern.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Monday musings


in which our plucky heroine notices improvements...

heart beet!

I love Green Zebra, my local mini grocery store. They have enough of a selection to be useful, they are within walking distance of Acorn Cottage, I get a 10% discount on fresh produce, and they have a sense of humor that adds to the whimsy and wonder in the world
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It was a very productive weekend with my Blue Cedar House pals. The rotted stupid deck in the backyard has been reduced to a pile of flinders in the middle of the backyard, and next month they will borrow a pickup truck so we can take the debris to the dump. Farbjorn also then raked up all the landscape cloth, picked up all the broken glass and trash that was underneath the deck, and then used the garden fork to loosen all the soil and then smooth it back out from the lumpy hillocky dangerous contour that was the result of Former Owners mistakes.

rotted deck flinders that need discarded,
with smoothed ground just visible behind


new front yard quarter circle garden bed



While all the deck demolishment was happening, Thora and I created a new small garden bed in the corner of the front yard near the sidewalk, and planted the baby Korean dwarf nut pine * tree there. I then decided that adding some flowers to the edge would make it look very adorable and loved, so I got a few inexpensive primroses and miniature pansies. Now the edge of the yard looks like it had always been that nice.

We also moved the Self Watering Planters over to the edge of the yard as well, where they get lots of sun. I am planning on sticking pea seeds in them for now, as springtime is the right time for that, and it has been years since I managed to do so! Will need to make planter covers from chicken wire to foil efforts by squirrels to replant with random nuts...
*Pinus koraiensis 'Dwarf' 'Nana' (Dwarf Korean Pine) * Full sun * Zones 3-8 * 5' tall * 4' wide * A true Dwarf Conifer, it only grows 5' tall x 4' wide! Harvest your own pine nuts! The Dwarf Korean Pine is a slow-growing, upright evergreen conifer with beautiful soft blue-green needles. Also known as Pinus koraiensis 'Nana'. In Asia, Korean Pine is widely harvested for pine nuts. Prefers full sun in well-drained soil. 5' tall x 4' wide in 10 years.s Hardy to -40 degree
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank deck broken downcracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve dwarf pine plantedbag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmalade - landscape cloth
4 Seville marmalade - -
5 new garden bed- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Friday, February 9, 2018

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine changes her plans...

Progress is happening on the handstitched cardigan... the basic assembly is done, and I am planning on stitching reinforcement strips along the center front, and body and sleeve hemlines next (I do this to help keep the edges from curling, which jersey knit is prone to doing), binding the neckline edge, and finally sewing on the snaps! In addition, Marya pointed out that the plaid wool in my Fabric Resource Center coordinated perfectly with the cardigan I have been working on!

I might have to will change up my SWAP plans yet again, and make a plaid pinafore instead of a brown one... The real difficulty I am having is finding fabric that works for what I need to add to my wardrobe, and that also works with the SWAP guidelines, but I think that this revised plan pencils out...

Choose two neutral colours: black and indigo, 3 garments from each colorway

1. black randomwale corduroy pinafore
2. black DWR rain poncho
3. black knit top

4. indigo dark denim pinafore (already made, from SWAP 2017)
5. indigo pinstripe top
6. indigo rayon popover top

Choose 1 accent color: brown, 2 prints: a brown/indigo plaid, and a floral print; one garment in each of these -

7. brown knit top (can use RTW Uniqlo turtleneck)
8. brown/indigo plaid pinafore
9. floral print cotton blouse

2 more additional garments in colors already chosen

10. brown/black flannel top
11. Alabama Chanin style cotton jersey cardigan
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adding a "candy" thermometer to the kitchen tools was long on my list. While I am not a confectioner, it will make judging when jam and marmalade are fully cooked a lot easier. I found one at my local New Seasons, instead of having to order from Amazon, and tested it as soon as I got home. Boiling water at sea level is 212 F. I did have to adjust the dial just a few degrees, which was very simple, as the storage case the thermometer fits into has a hexnut wrench built into the case!
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While out running errands today, I saw a flyer that our neighborhood association will be giving away 25 free fruit trees at the beginning of March. Not sure if I will be lucky in the lottery, but I did fill out the form, because who knows? I am asking for a Smyra Quince, out of the list of trees available, in the hope that not that many people will want a quince, whereas one has been on my list for years now, and I have the perfect spot picked out...
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank -cracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve -bag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmalade - -
4 Seville marmalade - -
5 x- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

grateful for: my excellent neighbors to the south

Thursday, February 8, 2018

wistful Wednesday and some Thursday thoughts


in which our plucky heroine struggles for dynamic equilibrium...

Springtime seems to come earlier each year, and while I love the new growth, and the sweet scent of daphne from my neighbor Carla's yard, springtime is always a difficult time of year as well. Being alone when all the adverts are about love and connection always feels a bit like salt in a wound, though I remind self that being single is better than being in a bad or abusive relationship, I look around and see so many of my friends with the kind of ongoing kindhearted daily connections that I do not have and at this point will never have. I try my best to focus instead on what is positive, and to find things to be grateful for every day.
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Am finally feeling better after whatever viral beasties attacked last week.  I managed to get over to Marya's house again for some more scribal shenanigans. I've been doing some custom "blanks", decorated original border designs that will be used when something more individual than a charter is needed. Since these have not been handed out yet, I can't show the whole thing, but here are a few tidbits from the Slavic style one I was working on last week

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There were a few organic Seville oranges at New Seasons this week, and as these rarely ever only occasionally show up, and not every year, I made certain to bring home a few pounds to make up a final batch of marmalade for the year. Seville oranges are closer to the ancestral citrus, and are much more bitter and full of seeds than our more common choices, and are used to make the lovely bitter-ish British style marmalade. I now have another eleven little jars for the pantry.
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I'm beginning to stitch together the A/C cardigan, and had better think about the rest of the SWAP pieces. Methinks that what I really need are either tops or dresses, possibly another cardigan or jacket, or another pair of cropped pants for cold weather layering. My closet is pretty abundant in the pinafore category. Time to go poke around in the Fabric Resource center and see what is appealing...
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Along with SWAP garments, we have the option of an additional "accessory". I am torn between my need for a new hat, and the idea of making a focal necklace from large fabric beads... A while back, I made these red beads for a friend, from some vintage Guatemalan ikat, and it occurred to me that something similar made from some of my other precious ikat pieces would be quite fun to wear.
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank -cracked water barrel
2 another A/C sleeve -bag to Goodwill
3 grapefruit marmalade - -
4 Seville marmalade - -
5 x- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x
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grateful for - the tender relentless approach of spring, which continually shifts the colors that I see every day. Tree buds and snowdrops, garlic sprouting and hellebore blooming...

Saturday, February 3, 2018

sick for days

in which our plucky heroine is as hollow as a stalk of bamboo...

I have been quite ill for the last several days, and while I will spare all and sundry the gory details, my first comment says it all. The numbers on my scale have gone down almost ten pounds, but I certainly do not recommend this...

I have been sipping this rehydration solution which tastes peculiar but seems to help. Today, as I have been able to stay upright and awake for slightly longer, and as my fever seems to have abated, I cooked a tiny amount of plain white rice, and plan to add it to some of the "broth in a box" which has been next on my list of inputs. I keep the plain broth on my earthquake shelf, and having it here has been a great help when I am feeling too feeble to leave the house to go shopping. Indeed, it would also have helped to have some of the rice noodles on hand, as they cook a lot faster than even white rice. I will add them to the shelf when I am feeling robust enough to shop again. The resilience of a small shelf of easy to fix and eat supplies is not only useful for natural disasters, but more commonly and frequently for the smaller domestic and personal disasters such as illness.
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When I was on my way over to Marya's house for some scribal fun on the day before I was laid low, there was clear indication that wintertime will soon be gone - the hedge at the far end of her street has started to bloom!

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Sadly, the last few days have consisted of only resting and recovery, though I am quite grateful for being able to stay home, and not share being ill with others, and for having supplies here to take care of myself. (I am not looking forward to my utility bill to come, since I have turned the portable heaters on in both the bedroom and the bathroom for the last few days.) It also has become clear to me that my prior strategy of letting things get into a bit of a mess for a few days, and then cleaning and tidying, is not a good idea... I was just getting ready to do a big push, and deal with Mt Washmore and Mt Dishmore when I fell ill, and having to look at a sink full of dirty dishes, or a pile of unfolded clothing, without having the energy to deal with what is usually a minor effort, has been very discouraging. In fact, it has furthered my recovery in that all I want to do is dive back under the covers and sleep some more! But again, not a recommended strategy. When I am actually feeling better, I will do my best to end each day with a cleaner slate!
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February SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Slavic scroll blank --
2 x --
3 x - -
4 x - -
5 x- -
6 x x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x
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