Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A rose in July is still sweet

in which our plucky heroine remembers that there is still beauty in the world...

like this lovely rose in a neighbors yard, seen early Saturday morning whilst on the way to the farmers market...
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The windowscreens here at Acorn Cottage get just filthy, (probably because pulling outdoor air in brings along all the city dust in the air), and it is always a challenge to remove them for washing. The brittle little plastic tabs intended as "handles" break off. Nonetheless, the bedroom screen that intersects the bedroom fan must needs washed, as I couldn't stop coughing last night. Hopefully this mornings messy interlude between the bathtub, the scrub brush, the shower spray hose and me will prove fruitful, although alas will not multiply without further effort on my part...
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My bright popover dress is basically completed, save adding capacious patch pockets, and I wanted to try it on and get a sense of how it looks...
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As I expected, the hot pink in the print does me no favors at all, as it accents the ruddy rosacea color in my face, and the vivid colors, while very "summery", seem to overwhelm my pale eyes and hair. This will all be taken care of (hopefully) once I overdye the dress with a dull turquoise/teal color.

What I also discovered, via the magic of self timer photo, is how uneven the hemline remains, despite my efforts to level it. The way the dress dips down in the side front is partially caused by movement and the slippy/drapey nature of the fabric, but also, I suspect, that my shoulders are not entirely symmetrical in either shape or slope. Fortunately I had not yet finished the hemline, so a bit more trimming will smooth that line out nicely before I do the last of the finish work.
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Just a note to self, for future reference, that I might be getting a toothache... the back of my mouth feels odd, right around the area where I had a cracked tooth six years ago. Perhaps the repairs they did then only lasted until now, and my decrepitude is increasing...
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shieldvenetian blind
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic bag to Goodwill
4 interstitial block
garlic braided paper recycling
5 pie blocksoapdish bag to Goodwill
6 mini pallet indigo popover seams bag to Goodwill
7 3M enamel washed 1 screen bag to Goodwill
8 bright popover dress x bag to Goodwill
9 x
x bag to Goodwill
10 x x canning jars
11 x x old magazines
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Sunday is not funday...

In which our plucky heroine attempts to not let it get to her...

Another two day heat advisory... It is currently 81F (26C) inside the house. It got up to over 94F (34C) in the shade outside, and the porch thermometer fell off the window. The neighborhood temperature reached 104F (40C) this afternoon. In addition the air quality is degraded to unhealthy which explains my throat feeling raw. Since the heat advisory is not over until maybe the end of tomorrow, the temperature will not really cool down at night until just before sunrise, which is very bad indeed.

I am having difficulty thinking well, because brain and heat are not friends. I am attempting to make some progress on my popover dress, and made a list of all the steps needed to complete it, since even that amount of planning is a challenge. This way I can look at the list and mark off what I have done.

It is now almost 11 PM. It is 82F (28C) outside. Glad I made it to the store last night, I wouldn't want to try and ride my bike in this heat, although at least the evil daystar is somewhere else for the moment and there is a beautiful moon out instead.

Yesterday I managed to get good errands done in the morning, and an extra trip to the grocery store on my bike just before they closed at 11 PM. Today was all about hiding indoors. This morning, I found a frozen landscape of trees and rocks inside my cup of hibiscus tea, which I had half finished and set in the fridge last night. It looks lovely and cool..,

Saturday, July 28, 2018

sometimes I hate my endoskeleton

in which our plucky heroine suffers a setback...

The sacroiliac joint at the base of my spine, where it joins my pelvis, has a habit of getting misaligned, with no particular warning, and with excruciatingly painful results. In an attempt to pull up my compression socks this morning, I was stricken. A visit to my favorite acupuncture and medical massage practitioner can usually put it to rights, but they are currently on the way to Yellowstone on a well deserved vacation and will not be back in town for a tenday. Alas. This is playing hob with my everyday well being, since I cannot easily move from sitting to standing or vice versa, carry water to my baby trees in the terrible heat wave we are suffering from, or innumerable other tasks of daily life and work...
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Despite the stupidly painful SI joint, I managed to slowly and carefully wend hobble my way to the Farmers Market this morning before the heat got too bad. Brought home baby zukes, new potatoes, haricots vert, cilantro, pickling cukes, and a bag of nectarines. I totally am grateful for the match-your-EBT program, particularly since the suits in DC keep cutting food allowances for EBT users.
The cilantro is for making some Thai peanut sauce. The pickling cukes are for making Tzatziki. The other veggies will all get steamed and chilled, since they are one of my favorite midsummer meals, either as a cold salad, or microwaved with some dairy. The beautiful nectarines were from a new-to-me booth - ProFarm Orchards out of Zillah, which has an assortment of organic stone fruit! Very tempted to arrange to purchase a flat, and put them up as sauce... the price is really good and the flavor is excellent.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Friday fragments


in which our plucky heroine is quite enervated...

The heat wave continues waving... a little up, a little down, but only occasionally cools off enough to let me cool the house enough for comfort in the morning. I've been getting up at 5 AM to run the fans until the outside temperature is greater than the inside. Then everything gets shut down until the reverse is true, which sometimes happens late at night, and sometimes in the wee small hours. Over the course of the day, the house gets warmer and warmer, in a cycle that is a few hours offset from the heat outside. If I don't run the fans in the morning before dawn and just after, the house never cools down.
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Wool trim tablet weaving progress report - 62" completed so far, which is more than half the warp. It takes me about a half hour to weave one repeat of the pattern, which is 5 1/2", so I have put in over seven hours so far. I am not a fast weaver, and the irregular turning of Finnish style tablet weaving requires great concentration, so I have not included the time spent unweaving and reweaving when I make an error.
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My pool card apparently ran out at the end of last week. There isn't always someone at the desk, and scanning it into the automated check-in doesn't give me that information. So today I rode my bike over to the pool office with my newly filled out financial aid form*, checkbook, and supporting documents in one basket, and my pool gear and towel in the other. (I do know where my towel is!) Turned in the form, and was told that it would take two working days to process, and that my old card wasn't valid for swimming today (sadface, but expected). So I rode slowly home in the midday heat... Got home, and there was a message on the answering machine that my application was approved, and that as soon as I paid my share, I could swim again. I wish that they could have told me to just hang around the office there for the fifteen minutes it took me to ride home. I was much too fried from bike riding in the heat to ride back there a second time today, though...

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As the Useful Sale (40% off on Speedball inks, and also on Jacquard dye and textile paint) is coming to an end at the local art store, I headed over there as soon as they opened this morning... art supplies acquired: more dye to transform the rayon dress by copiaus applicaiton of turquoise and teal, an assortment of colors of fabric blockprinting ink and textile paint, and a few small treats - a new mapping pen for me to try out for scribal detail work, and some colorful yarn for young Ellie
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Scavenged figs will eventually become jam, to transmogrify the terrible heat of summer into wintertime delight. Today I found another two pounds on the tree behind the bike shelter ready to be picked... Three pounds of figs currently chopped up and macerating with sugar in a bowl in the fridge. WIth the addition of two lemons juice and zest, and some time cooking down, they will be ready to bottle for the pantry. It will be very likely that they take a small rest in the freezer for now, once they have been prepped, as the idea of filling the maslin pan with boiling water to properly seal the jars in this heat does not appeal.
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shieldvenetian blind
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic bag to Goodwill
4 interstitial block
garlic braided paper recycling
5 pie blocksoapdish bag to Goodwill
6 mini pallet popover seams bag to Goodwill
7 3M enamel x bag to Goodwill
8 x x bag to Goodwill
9 x
x bag to Goodwill
10 x x canning jars
11 x x old magazines
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x


* part of my city taxes I pay every year go to the Parks Department, which uses a fragment of that to provide 50% subsidies for folks of low income who wish to use the various park facilities, or take classes. This is a Good Thing. I've not used it anywhere other than at the pool, which is both within a mile or so of my house, and a place I can do my physical therapy to help my wonky legs and esae the lymphedema, but it means that pool access, which would otherwise be entirely out of my reach, is possible...

Thursday, July 26, 2018

thinking about dyeing

in which our plucky heroine mulls over various possiblities...

The rayon fabric I am currently struggling working with is a brightly multi-colored high-contrast print. (I suspect I acquired it in a fabric swap, since it isn't a typical colorway I would choose, though the hand of the fabric is lovely, and will make up into a Very Comfortable Dress.) As is often the case with printed fabrics, the individual colors are notated on the selvedge, in little numbered dots. In this case, there are a total of FOURTEEN different colors!

The biggest challenge when overdyeing fabric that is colored or patterned is to figure out, at least theoretically, what color you will end up with in relation to what color or colors you start out with and what color dyestuff you use. At the very least, it requires great imaginative effort, for more accuracy, it requires sample dyeing. Rather than start by preparing several dyebaths, I decided to make a chart, and carefully think about how colors usually interact.

overdye interactions
# FABRIC COLOR OVERDYE BLUE OVERDYE BROWN
1 black no changeno change
2 dk grey darker bluedarker brown
3 yellow-greendark turquoise bronze
4 navy
no change slightly warmer
5 lt greydarker dull blue darker dull brown
6 dull blue-green darker bluegreen bronze brown
7 bright med blue darker blue cooler brown
8 periwinkle darker cool blue cooler brown
9 ice green
slightly green blue slightly bronze
10 hot pink purple terracotta
11 warm cream slightly warm blue slightly warmer brown
12 lt grey slightly darker dull blue slightly darker dull brown
13 lt blue no change slightly cooler brown
14 pastel teal slightly green blue slightly cooler brown

As I had suspected, the most challenging color in this print is the hot pink, which shows up often enough that whatever color it turns will be a noticeable accent color. I don't really like purple or terracotta very much. It is slightly more difficult to predict colors with brown, since brown is not a primary, or even a secondary color, but a mixture of red, yellow, and blue, often toned with either white or black as well.

I shall continue to mull over the possibilities. I found this exercise to be informative, as though my initial thought was to overdye in brown, but looking at the probable outcome, I am more inclined to go with the blue, as more of the shifted colors are ones that I am comfortable wearing, and are already in my wardrobe. Perhaps it is time for me to get over my irrational dislike of purple? In the interim, I shall get the pieces prepared to sew, and stitch together the new popover dress, a good task for another terribly hot day. If I stitch up the seams and topstitching in black, the thread color will not be a factor in the overdye process later on.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tuesday tidbits, and a bit of Monday media

in which our plucky heroine creates a sort of double boro...

double boro: This beloved summer dress, the first of my popovers, has been patched many times since I first made it back in 2010, and continues to pull apart at the seams; I made a basic error in judging the character of the fabric while doing in the original sewing, and cut the seam allowances too narrow for the serged seam finish to hold from fraying... So, I decided on radical treatment and went for visible mending. Hug Snug rayon seam tape is applied on the outside of all the seams. The tape is so thin and drapes in a similar fashion to the textured Japanese rayon the dress is made from. Square mitered corners add a subtle, vaguely early 20th C embellishment to the front panel near the neckline...
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More loose summer popovers are necessary, since our heat wave shows no sign of ending, alas. Despite having no idea what I had intended back when I chose to cut the pieces for a new dress from some rather colorful if summery rayon fabric, (since I neglected to leave myself notes, and then stuffed it all back into a project bag and promptly forgot about it) I shall now do my best to turn it into a wearable garment.

In the cool of the morning today, I ironed out the various bits... some are obviously the front and back panels, and the assorted other rectangles can become or be pieces into the hemline gores that give the popover dress a bit of graceful twirl. My plan is to measure and record the dimensions of the initial popover above, as that one fits more nicely than any subsequent iteration. In a few days, I should have another needful addition to my summer wardrobe.

Unfortunately, the stripey fabric was printed quite off grain, and the stripes are skewed. As the fabric is also rather more vividly colorful and contrasty than is my wont, I shall probably overdye it once the garment is completed, as a way of toning down the contrast, and somewhat making the off grain stripes less noticable. Though I was originally thinking indigo blue, I am now leaning towards a sort of chocolate color. Blue overdye would turn the magenta to purple, which is not a favorite of mine, whereas brown would make all the colors more subtle. Overdyeing is always a bit of a surprise what you end up with, and I can take some time to consider what will work best.
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a lovely, cooling fragment of Minoan-inspired animation
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shieldvenetian blind
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic bag to Goodwill
4 interstitial block
garlic braided paper recycling
5 pie blocksoapdish bag to Goodwill
6 mini pallet popover seams bag to Goodwill
7 3M enamel x bag to Goodwill
8 x x bag to Goodwill
9 x
x bag to Goodwill
10 x x canning jars
11 x x old magazines
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine tries to stay cool


My current obsession with carving blocks for fabric printing continues unabated. In between enameling on Friday, the pie block was completed. (the SCA badge for Blue Cedar House, whose motto is "Si moriturus es, morere plenus tortae" (if you are going to die, die full of pie)
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Just before the heat hit with a vengeance, I spent most of Friday finishing up the current enamel commission. Still need to create the setting for it, but unlike enameling, that does not require standing in front of a 1500F kiln all day.
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Thora from Blue Cedar House came down this weekend, and since it is much too hot, and the lawn is dead until the rains come again, we chose some different activities for her to help with, instead of lawn and yard work... on Saturday, we spent a good chunk of the day running various errands, including seeking fabric for trimming the next set of SCA clothing...Thora and I went fabric shopping yesterday. Started by heading over to Fabric Depot first, as we had a list of potential things needed....

Alas, I had not heard of the difficulties the store was having, and the current changes they are in the middle of! It was like we had shifted to a different reality. The store was had none of the items on our list, was missing most of what I formerly went there to purchase, and the amount of fabric in the store was so much less than in previous visits that it felt hollow. Every department had been moved around, some were only a few bolts on one shelf, some were missing entirely. Granted, I didn't go there that often because two hours on the bus each way, but now... I am sad to say that I probably won't go back at all, since that is a long way to go and not find anything needful, or fascinating enough to purchase unexpectedly. YMMV. I will still be shopping at my other local, if smaller, fabric shops, such as Bolt...
Thora and I did an impressive amount of declutter and tidying today, both in the workroom and with the fabric stash. We found the missing nylon tweezers, still looking for the missing fiberglass brush(es)... Both the large worktable and the standing workbench are cleared off and all from there put away orderly. All the fabric shelves now have neat stacks of fabric. The folding worktable that was the bane of the bedroom has been cleared off, folded, and put away, and all its former contents are away where they belong. And, five bags of stuff left for Goodwill, not including the recycling that also went away.
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starting to make a base for Blue Cedar House's camp kitchen, to raise it off the ground when in use, so it will be easier to open the doors.. We noticed at ATWW that something that served this function would really improve the eventing kitchen. I am not a carpenter, and certainly not a cabinetmaker, but I aim for at least a little bit above being a woodbutcher... Actually this project was more about the engineer mindset, in that rather than being overbuilt, it hopefully used just enough materials to do the task, thereby saving both transport weight, and my own hand tool effort, since I cut all the pieces from salvaged lumber using a japanese pull saw and a miter box.

The completed camp kitchen base... yes, I realise that I basically created a customised small pallet! The base is sized with the center just about a quarter inch larger in length and width than the camp kitchen, so that the actual camp kitchen will easily fit into the central space. The "screen molding" edges are just tall enough to locate the camp kitchen and prevent it from sliding off the base when in use, but not tall enough to interfere with opening the doors. Thora was pleased, and I am eager to hear how it works on their next camping trip!
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shieldvenetian blind
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic bag to Goodwill
4 interstitial block
garlic braided paper recycling
5 pie blocksoapdish bag to Goodwill
6 mini pallet x bag to Goodwill
7 3M enamel x bag to Goodwill
8 x x bag to Goodwill
9 x
x bag to Goodwill
10 x x canning jars
11 x x old magazines
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Friday, July 20, 2018

Friday fragments


in which our plucky heroine continues incremental progress...

Step by step the longest march can be won, can be won
Many stones can form an arch, singly none, singly none
And together what we will can be accomplished still,
Many drops can turn a mill, singly none, singly none
My father was an engineer for the space program, back when we had a space program...
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For the last few weeks I have only been getting either one egg per day or none in the chicken house. My chooks are only three years old, they are too young to be not laying, so I blame the hot weather. I fed them the leftover watermelon, on the hottest day, it had frozen in the fridge and had a wierd texture, but to them it was still a treat, being a combination of fruit, water, and seeds... Today I saw that they had eaten it right down to the rind
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I knocked my soap dish into the sink and broke it last night. Epoxy to the rescue! Leg successfully reattached. I'm no kind of potter, so my few ceramic efforts are rather childlike in execution, as I've not put in the hours that are required to build skill to match the images in my head. There are, nonetheless, needful or desirable objects that exist nowhere else, so on the rare opportunity to get to play with an unfamiliar media they come crowding to the fore, asking to be made real.
This is the repaired soapdish. I made it to fit the back corner of the sink, and drain the water from the used soap bar back into the sink. I wanted a self-draining soapdish forever, but never found one for sale (that fit both the space and my aesthetics), hence the rustic but functional DIY. Were I to get a chance to do more ceramics, I'd make one with sturdier and heavier legs, so as to be less top-heavy and tip-over-able.
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shieldvenetian blind
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic -
4 interstitial block
garlic braided -
5 xsoapdish -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday and I'm melting

in which our plucky heroine grasps at straws...

On my way home from the needful trip this morning to drop off my EBT biannual forms, I stopped at Goodwill on the way home. A brand new older copy of the classic Knitting Without Tears will be a good addition to my resource library.
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Though often riding transit is an exercise in grim determination, today there was a small bright spot. A woman got on with a child in a stroller, with two balloons with the words "Happy Birthday", and "It's today!" written on them in magic marker. Once they were settled in their seats, I started softly singing happy birthday to the little girl, and gradually more and more people on the bus joined in...
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There is continued progress on assorted crafty projects - have completed 35" of the current tablet weaving, almost finished another interstitial block for the fabric printing project, and am currently in the middle of repairing an old favorite dress that needs the seams reinforced. I got tired of doing many many small patches, so am applying Hug Snug to the seams as a kind of decorative band effect... not ideal but far faster than my previous attractive but very slow hand stitching. I have decided hat it matters to save handwork for garments that will not wear out before the repairs do...
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The terrible evil daystar persists in the current rampage, or perhaps this is just the new normal. The only physical activity I have managed to do today is my basic indoor PT. I am going stir crazy not being able to do outdoor things, and no relief in sight.

The combination of over 100F and intense sunlight have me entirely dysfunctional. Tried to ride my bike last night but it was well above 80F at 10:30. I may try and get up just before dawn to ride my bike, if I can get up that early. My chickens may be too hot to lay eggs, since they went from two a day to none, despite my bringing them fresh cool water in the afternoon

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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shieldvenetian blind
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic -
4 interstitial block
garlic braided -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine appreciates kindness, and continues hiding from the sun...

It is going to be terrible hot again today. Got up at 5 so I could be at the farmers market when they opened at 8. Decided to splurge and get a piece of fish from the fish booth, and when I told the nice man I had over an hour on the bus to get home again, he kindly gave me a hardfrozen ice pack ("good for at least 4 hours") to keep it safely cold.

I love that I can double my EBT purchasing money there, which lets me get special things like fish, or berries, and puts that money directly to local and regional producers. Got home again before it was too hot to deploy the box fans, at least a little bit. I run them until it is warmer outside than in, and then close the house up tightly until the situation reverses or I fall asleep at night.

Decided to splurge and get a piece of fish from the fish booth, and when I told the nice man I had over an hour on the bus to get home again, he kindly gave me a hardfrozen ice pack ("good for at least 4 hours") to keep it safely cold. I love that I can double my EBT purchasing money there, which lets me get special things like fish, or berries, and puts that money directly to local and regional producers. Another booth had haricots vert, and little new potatoes smaller than hens eggs... I forsee a lovely summertime potato salad (adding in some yard herbs) to go with the special fish treat!
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Happy to have figured out how to do the base for the Mindy camp kitchen cupboard: use thin boards parallel for the base, then use 2-by boards as cleats on the ends and for the risers underneath, so I don't need to cut a large plywood rectangle. Can use "screen molding" for the locator stops along the upper edge.
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Current tablet weaving - 1 repeat takes about a half hour, and is about 5 inches in length
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I had a weird adventure dream last night... Bill, and Eva, and I were all having a sort of odd picnic/sleepover in an outdoor garden, where the trees were actually huge tomato plants. We had made up our bedrolls from these vintage quilts, and were settling down with bowls of vegetable soup...

I suspect the subconscious influence of the Oregon Country Fair.
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Discovered a bag of blueberries in the depths of the chest freezer... this makes breakfast a lot more appealing this time of year. Add a few chopped nuts, some yoghurt, and a spoonfl of rolled oats for a freezy museli morning treat
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My sleep wake has become entirely disordered. I prescribed napping, and so today was mostly a massive siesta once I got home from the farmers market (and put the laundry out on the line to dry while I napped). Now that I am finally awake again, shall attempt the rest of the chores list, and scout around the house for things to declutter.
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shield-
3 Thora mousie blockharvested garlic -
4 x
garlic braided -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine attempts to become crepuscular (in the zoological sense)...

Summer heat has me hiding indoors whenever possible, though it isn't always an option. Though I am not ever an early morning person, afternoon napping mitigates at least some of the exhaustion.
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The other end of my tablet weaving setup - the weighted spools that hold the warps from each card.

This makes dealing with accumulated warp twist as fast and easy as can be (just push twist to the far end and let each spool twirl as needed) which makes doing complex weaves with irregular turning, like those in Applesies and Fox Noses, so much less troublesome. I am using porcelain ceramic electric fence insulators, one to hold each set of warps, and an additional one on each to add extra weight.
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Further progress on the central linoleum block with Thora's heraldic motifs. I have decided that I much prefer the grey lino to the tan, as the tan lino keeps cracking/chipping off in small details and edges. (which is odd, since the tan blocks are advertised as being of "superior quality")

I have had to break out the epoxy three times so far, some of which is visible in the lower left of the tree roots. This also happened when I carved the confronted horses block, where the horse ears fell off and needed glued back into place. Fortunately the glue seems to hold up so far in use, but I shall avoid any further purchased of the tan linoleum blocks...
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragonyard waste bin
2 large border block LED light shield-
3 xharvested garlic -
4 x
garlic braided -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Thursday, July 12, 2018

grump grump grump

in which all our plucky heroine can do is whinge...

It is after 10 PM. It is 85F outside. It is 80F inside.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

not quite basket weaving...

in which our plucky heroine braids the garlic...

The harvested garlic has now be lightly cleaned, and is hanging just outside the back door to air cure for a few weeks. This lets it dry down a bit further so that it will store as well as can be possible for use over time.

Hardneck garlic does not store as well as the softneck type that makes up our usual store bought type, but the ease of use (fewer, larger, cloves instead of many bitsy ones, delicious complex flavors, and early crop of scapes makes up for that IMHO. I may, in fact try making some of it into pickled garlic, for some longer shelf stable storage, as an experiment...

I have, however, never tried before to braid or weave together the stalwart stalks of homegrown garlic, and was delighted to suss out this tidy way to loop one stalk after another around the grouping, which makes an attractive and easy way to hang them along the top edge of the garden workbench.
My "wishful Wednesday" is that somehow another two raised garden beds can be built prior to the autumn garlic planting season, as I would dearly like to double my allium spaces...

...in addition, last night I managed to get the next tablet weaving project on the loom, and will be working away at it in small random bits of time when some peaceful mindful work is just the right thing. I made the warp long enough so that there will be some for Thora, and some for me.


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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragon-
2 x LED light shield-
3 xharvested garlic -
4 x
garlic braided -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

well begun

in which our plucky heroine is pleased with progress...

As part of making and decorating SCA clothing for myself and for my Blue Cedar House pals, it seemed like an enjoyable idea to block print fabric for use as trim. In the Viking Age, precious silk samite fabric was cut into strips and used thusly, and though suitable samite isn't really an option, by block printing, we can create a similarly splendid effect.

I will be creating a mix and match group of blocks that can be combined in various ways, with central blocks that either reflect period motifs, or use our personal heraldry in a creatively historical manner, as a way of doing heraldic display for a non-heraldic time period, but appropriate to our own SCA culture...

A large border block partially carved, and a new interstitial block with the design laid out. Both will have the center portions void, to allow for various motifs and/or different colors to be used...
The design for the interstitial block is from this textile.
(Hanging with winged horses in medallions (detail), Egypt, 4th–6th century
©Abegg-Stiftung, CH-3132 Riggisberg (photo: Christoph von VirĂ g)

This block will be 5" in diameter and will fit neatly in the center or my large border block once it is completed. An example of creating a motif in a period style, but instead of copying a historical artifact, I am instead using pieces of Musa-Thora's personal heraldry.

What I did here was to take the main charge from her arms, the rampant mouse, and mirror it on either side of the main charge from her badge, the European cedar tree, and combine them in the "two animals confronted between a foliage" motif common to the samite roundels that inspire this style of block printing. My initial layout simply involved copy and paste of the designs from her heraldic submission forms, once I transferred that to the linoleum, I modified the tree foliage to better fill the space.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Media monday and miscellany

in which our plucky heroine is impressed by art...

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harvested the garlic today - 22 heads from the one raised bed... Though it is earlier in the year than in times past, all the leaves were sere and crisp, so it would get no good from being kept in the ground any longer... They will need to cure for a few weeks, but I couldn't resist peeling these two, cos fresh garlic is so pretty!

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I was tired of how often the incandescent light bulb inside the sewing machine burned out - the vibration of the machine doesn't help... so I decided to switch to LED lights. It took some doing to find a source. Though I would rather buy from a neighborhood shop instead of Amazon, even our local specialty lightbulb store didn't carry them, so I had to order online.

The new "lightbulb" is very bright, and works quite well, except when I need to open the access hatch, when the intense luminosity completely dazzles my poor eyes, since the LED array is configured to send light outward in all directions instead of just down. Since The sewing machine requires frequent periodic access, this situation was not ideal.

So... after a bit of thought, the solution, while not elegant, required nothing more than a piece of an aluminum soda can and some duct tape. By creating a reflective light shield, I can still get all the use from the new lighting without being blinded. (I am reminded of the chapter in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance where he talks about using soda can aluminum as a shim material)

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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wool apron dress planted tarragon-
2 x LED light shield-
3 xharvested garlic -
4 x
- -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, July 8, 2018

bigger than a breadbox

in which our plucky heroine travels there and back again...

One of my favorite regional SCA events, AnTir/West War, happens every year just outside of Gold Beach, near the border between Oregon and northern California. We often choose to drive Hwy 38 along the Umpqa River, as a good balance between speed and scenery. The coast road is the most scenic, but even with part of the trip on I-5 it is still at least five or more hours from where I live, adding more time on 101 would lengthen the journey quite a bit.
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This year, for our first time ever, the "Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area" had two large groups of elk close to the road!

We've driven past there many a time, and only ever seen a few elk one previous time, at a great distance...
Elk are huge, the second largest members of the deer family. Only moose are larger.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

a scent so sweet


in which our plucky heroine follows her nose...

The first time I smelled the scent of linden blossoms, I was riding through the park on my way to the pool, and my first thought was that someone was using something very strongly odiferous as a laundry product, since strong natural floral scents are rare in these parts.

However, when I smelled it again in the imported soap aisle of a local shop, it was more accurately identified, and I realised that the huge beautiful trees that shaded part of the park are actually venerable linden trees.

I'd never seen or smelled any before in all my years, and they really do have a lovely sweet floral scent. The leaves are heart shaped, deep green above and silvery below, and the fragrant golden blossoms are, apparently, superb bee fodder...

Monday, July 2, 2018

yes I am a tree hugger...

in which our plucky heroine is grateful to the flora of the world..

This video is just plain beautiful... and this version is annotated to explain what you are looking at! Remember, without photosynthesis, life as we know it here on the planet would be impossible...
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Went for my second physical therapy appointment today, and since it was at 8AM, the bedside alarm went off at 5:30. Rather cruel, but the cooler early morning temperatures and surprisingly uncrowded buses were worth it. Much better than the previous trip in the midday sun. Frustrated that so many things keep going wrong with my ankles and feet, but hopeful that at least I have some things that may help. I now have five different exercises to do. The PT checked out my new painful other ankle, and suggested that it did not seem to be bone related, but rather more like other tendon/muscle issues and the stretch he suggested does indeed give me some short term relief when the pain increases. Also, I did not know that what seemed wierd to me, that my pain decreases with walking/standing and increases with sitting/lying down, is acutally common, if mysterious.
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This essay is makes so much sense, and presents SCA goal setting in a clear and easy to understand way:
Goal Setting
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 x planted tarragon-
2 x --
3 x- -
4 x
- -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Sunday snippets and bits

in which our plucky heroine is making a second attempt at establishing some French tarragon...

My former tarragon, planted this spring, is still alive, but has grown no bigger than the tiny sprig that I planted in April. When I went to ask at the farmers market booth where I bought it, the vendor just gave me another plant! saying that "tarragon is tricksy and difficult" and that I wasn't doing anything wrong, just sometimes it doesn't want to grow. These are planted in a larger planter, with soil slightly enriched with compost, and covered with bird netting to prevent squirrel depredation. Fingers crossed that the young plants will be happy and grow.
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Really need to get back to some decluttering, as that aspect has been sorely neglected for the last few months
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Today whilst riding my bike to the grocery store in the morning, I was startled to see this front yard fountain fizzling away full of dry ice... (which was apparently, and according to the nice elderly man in the garage, the leftover bits from keeping their previous days picnic supplies frozen. He laughed and said that he always wanted his very own fog machine!)
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July SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 x planted tarragon-
2 x --
3 x- -
4 x
- -
5 x- -
6 x x -
7 x x -
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 x x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x