Tuesday, December 31, 2019

SMART goals 2019

in which our plucky heroine looks back on the record of what was  accomplished in the last year...

SMART goals challenge 2019
#THINGS MADETHINGS FIXEDTHINGS GONE
1braided linen cordold bathing suit1#
22019 calendarsblack knit top cuffrecycle bin
3black linen undergowngarlic plantedtwo bags to Goodwill
4tiny Norse Pelicangloves mendedglass recycling
5AS50 knit topchook wings clippedyard waste bin
6black knit top for Momprune hardy fuchsia 1#
7red knit top for Mommulched garlic bedsbag to Goodwill
8gold knit top for MomTullia sleevesbag to Goodwill
9dk red top for Mom
leaky undersinkbag to Goodwill
10bright feathers Mom topneckline bindingbag to Goodwill
11multi feathers knit topmore chips spreadrusty toolbox
12Cara Cara marmaladechicken beddingchicken wire
13mushroom print blousebutton replacedchicken house
14Seville marmaladeMartin's Laurel
chicken waterer
154 jars Awesome Saucestripey vest buttonslots of yard waste
16Pomelo marmalade bead swag endspaper recycling
17blood orange marmaldepainted shoesrandom garden plastic
18indigo pinstripe dress
new elastic lacespaper recycling
19charter #1
cardigan lengthenbin of straw
20candied peelcardigan back hemyard waste bin
21charter #2replace button patches dead rope
222 tiny enamelspruned parking stripbag yard waste
23blue floral blouserenewed raised plantersbag yard waste
24Sólbein cardiganplant salad tableyard waste bin
25Range backpackplant tomato startsyard waste bin
26brown corduroy pinaforegrapevine pruned
yard waste bin
27corrugated wiregreen onions planted
bag to Goodwill
28earbud caseI-cord edgingmy appendix!
29Ursa pulloverflowering plum prunedGoodwill bag
30raspberry saucebackyard clotheslineyard waste bin
31tiny rag dollboombox cord plugappletree bits
322nd tiny rag dollweeds gone front yardplant stand
33tween undergownweeds gone back yardbag to Goodwill
34tween apron dressweeds gone side yardsbag to Goodwill
35tween undergownapple tree mulchedbag to Goodwill
36tween undergown4 sewing shelves sortedold frozen food
37tween undergownnew serger needlesmorning glories
38strawberry-rhubarb saucerulers cork reattached windfall apples
39Minoan pendant
gussets added to shirtyard waste bin
40blue floral blouseneckline adjustedbag to Goodwill
41charter #3bike brakes tightenedyard waste bin
42batik popover dressborders on red overdressyard waste bin
43charter #4trimmed forsythiabag to Goodwill
44Laurel enameltrimmed sagegrapes harvested
45Aesa wool gownpill case reshapedyard waste bin
46stripey everyday dressquinceling prunedyard waste bin
47wool panovaloppers repairedred fence slats
48Lions Torse charter masterbroken-apple removed excess mustard
49Terpsichore Fox 
charter master
sewing machine yard waste bin
50Grace of An Tir 
charter master
popover pocketspaper recycling
51herringbone undergowngown band printedlots of leaves
52indigo check undergownKestrel gown neckline
apple watersprouts
53neckroll pillowcasesfreezer defrosted yard waste bin
54carnelian necklacekitchen wall paintedpaper recycling
55charter # 6repair soapdishwooden AC support
56Laurel tablet weaving
add AC to kitchendamaged shoes
57blue shibori popoverKestrel gownpaper recycling
58undergown bodicekitchen wall paintedbag to Goodwill
59Lion's Cub masterfire extinguisher uppaper recycling

60
Leo Minor master2nd windowshadebag to Goodwill

overflow SMART goals!!!
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
61 Lion's Mane mastercompost bins moved -
62 Kestrel gown toile roses pruned -
63 smocked linen apron mended denim pinafore -
64 overgown bodice embroidered mitts -
65 grey stripey dress molar cavity -
66 carved suzani block ghwazee coat altered -
67 two triangle blocks carvedmoar apple pruning -
68 charter #7 painted wool fabric sorted -
69 clothespin bed AC put to bed -
70 charter #8 painted quinces picked -
71 a dozen dishcloths picked persimmons -
72 6 jars grape syrup necklace pegs -
73 Maeva undergown cardigan sleeves -
74 Maeva overdress harvest 15# persimmons -
75 Maeva wool gollar patched overall pinafore -
76 Maeva wusthalbe Tullia mitts -
77 Maeva steuchlein side yard drainpipe -
78 calligraphy letter Drusa mitts -
79 SWAP rules hooks for plunger -
80 three sketches leather catch tray -
81 2 more sketches 2 walls painted -
82 scrappy collage cardigan neckline dots -
83 scrappy collage knit top new lid worm bin -
84 floral scarf - -
85 rain capelet - -
86 Awesome sauce - -
88 quince jelly - -
89 quince sauce - -
90 persimmon ketchup - -
91 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
- -
92 candied grapefruit peel - -
93 more dried persimmon - -
94 blockprinted ermine trim - -
95 saffron linen for Larry - -
96 red linen for Larry - -
97 rum balls - -
98 ginger whiskey balls - -
99 swimsuit - -
100 small shelf - -
101 4 jars quincemeat - -

today's gratitude - despite all feelings to the contrary, I do seem to get at least some things done. This habit of recording SMART* goals all year long has been serving me well for the last six years, and I shall probably continue using the tool to encourage myself for the rest of the years I have life and breath...
* SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely

Sunday, December 29, 2019

a slow Sunday

in which our plucky heroine makes modest progress, after a night with little sleep ...

Finally made a second long-planned small bracketed shelf, to hold my wood boxes of SCA trinkets and treasures... the shelf above it is the bottom of the old wooden medicine cabinet hanging on the wall in the bedroom. The mirrored door is handy when I comb my hair in the morning, and inside the cabinet are some dowels set across (where once medicines sat on long lost shelves) to store my earrings...

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There was a large jar of quincemeat left in the fridge after making the tartlets for Saturnalia, so today I added leftover pears, and most of a jar of homemade Seville marmalade, brought the whole amount up to a boil again, and processed it into jars to keep for next winters holiday baking. There are now four 8oz jars in the pantry. Soon it will be marmalade season, as this season's citrus are starting to arrive at the grocery store. And another batch of candied citrus peel must needs be made for my father's birthday...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted wooden AC support
2 candied grapefruit peelneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 even more dried persimmonnew lid worm bin paper recycling
4 blockprinted ermine trim
x bag to Goodwill
5 fruitcake bakedx paper recycling
6 red linen for Larry x
bag to Goodwill
7 saffron linen for Larry x
x
8 rum balls x x
9 ginger whiskey balls
x x
10 swimsuit x x
11 small shelf x x
12 4 jars quincemeat x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - continued progress towards my goal of organisation

Saturday, December 28, 2019

not resolutions but intention

in which our plucky heroine looks towards the next go round...

"Everytime that wheel turn round, bound to cover just a little more ground"...

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Looking at what I accomplished over the last year:

garment sewing:
6 t-shirts for my mom
15 modern garments for me
13 SCA garments for others
4 SCA garments for me

metalwork done:
4 pieces (one a HUGE project)

scribal activities:
6 charter masters created
9 charters painted

other textile activity:
Laurel tablet woven band
2 handknit sweaters
1 new backpack for me

I know that this looks like a lot, but it doesn't feel like a lot. Apparently most of my effort was directed at sewing and textile artifacts, and comparatively little at metalwork. What this tells me is that I need to give my metal and enamel some extra attention in order to bring more balance to my creative life. Also, don't blink, because a yearwheel turns really fast!                   
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Made a swimsuit today*, with the hope that we (Heather, Brandon, Ellie, and Melody + our plucky heroine) would be able to visit the Soaking Pool at McMenamins Kennedy School Hotel. Alas, had forgotten that it is the dreaded holiday weekend between Christmas and New Years, and there were so many people at the hotel itself (the hotel guests have priority over general public) that we waited an hour and a half without success for a spot to open up. Gave up and went to Enat Kitchen for an early supper instead. Yummy Ethiopian food
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One night last week I lost control of the waterpik. It was rather alarming, and messy, and hilarious all at the same time, but fortunately I managed to correctly deal with the handpiece and stop the water from spurting across the kitchen! If I was the designer, I'd have set it up that pressing the button on the handpiece caused the water to flow, rather than having it begin automatically and needing to hold the button down to shut off the water jet
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good news is that the alley neighbors have removed about a third of the trash behind their house that has been a horrible eyesore for the last month. this gives me hope that eventually they will remove all of it...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted wooden AC support
2 candied grapefruit peelneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 even more dried persimmonnew lid worm bin paper recycling
4 blockprinted ermine trim
x bag to Goodwill
5 fruitcake bakedx paper recycling
6 red linen for Larry x
-
7 saffron linen for Larry x
x
8 rum balls x x
9 ginger whiskey balls
x x
10 swimsuit x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x
 

today's gratitude - experimental swimsuit is wearable, if not particularly photogenic. Figuring out how best to alter it for current body size/shape is tricksey.

Pattern is well over 20 years old at this point, and I've not quite the same body as I did back in the early 90's. And I decided to change up the skirted aspect from an empire waist skirt to a sort of attached at hip level skirt.  Turns out the empire waist skirt is more attractive IHMO. But a hip level skirt will be less cumbersome when actually In The Water. No photos "as worn", way beyond my comfort zone that would be...

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

holiday music


in which our plucky heroine listens to favorites old and new...

I'm keeping busy and currently sewing on the 12th Night clothing for Lawrence (Thora's sweetie). And currently trying not to worry about assorted troubling personal issues. And currently wishing that some faraway folks were not so far away. And, of course, currently doing my best to be aware that in the Very Right Now, I can, in fact, count my blessings











Saturday, December 21, 2019

the shortest day

in which our plucky heroine marks another trip around the sun...

This is just plain lovely... happy Solstice one and all!

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"And so the Shortest Day came
and the year died.
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year."

~ Susan Cooper

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today's gratitude -  I'm still here, still above ground, still making and sharing as best as can be managed...

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

fruitcake

in which our plucky heroine bakes a cake...

Truly, had I been on top of things, this project would have begun last month. It has been a number of years since I last made fruitcake, but the temptation to use homegrown dried fruit and homemade candied peel was impossible to resist.  (I have no idea if any of my dear friends even eat fruitcake, so will make certain that there are an assortment of other Saturnalia treats both sweet and savory). What I had entirely forgotten was how very stiff and hard to stir the mixture became prior to being placed in the baking pan; said baking pan, newly acquired, must needs be (according to the recipe) triply lined, first with two layers of brown paper, then with a final inner layer of parchment paper.

It was a sort of a craft project, as I measured, folded, and clipped the bottom edge of the papers that went around the sides of the pan, and after putting that in place, neatly placed a paper disc in the bottom. Lather rinse repeat three times... My new cake pan, designed with a removable bottom, made marking and cutting the right size discs quite simple.

I then used a fair amount of strength to shove the stiff batter into the pan, and to smooth it out into a semblance of a neat level disc. Two hours in the oven and it seems to be done, according to the "toothpick test". Two tablespoons of rum were brushed over the exposed top of the hot cake, the tall paper edges folded down to cover it, and the whole kaboodle wrapped up in tinfoil and set on a trivet to cool. When fully cool, it gets unwrapped from the various layers, possibly brushed with more alcohol, and wrapped up again until being decorated with marzipan and fondant (British party clothes for fruitcakes)
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted wooden AC support
2 candied grapefruit peelneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 even more dried persimmonnew lid worm bin paper recycling
4 blockprinted ermine trim
x -
5 fruitcake bakedx -
6 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
 

today's gratitude - finding out that my range oven does actually work

Monday, December 16, 2019

noisy and silly, but fun

in which our plucky heroine is amused...


A friend posted this last week on the Book of Face, and it just made me giggle...

today's gratitude - I am quite fond of Interlibrary Loan, and even with our very active and extensive regional library system I use it fairly often. I am particularly grateful that our system does not charge extra to get books from away. Today I picked up a copy of The Moral Narratives of Hayao Miyazaki, which was sent all the way from a university in California, and have been enjoying it very much!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

snippets on Sunday

in which our plucky heroine is impulsive...

I bought a lamp. Actually I bought two lamps... both from Lee Valley, both that I had been thinking about for a while, both LED lamps. One is a lighted benchtop magnifier, which should be wonderfully adjustable for dealing with small cloisonne bits and suchlike. The other is a small tabletop growlight, as in reference to yesterdays comment about trying to grow my own salad arugula, which according to the internets grows well indoors.
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Better late than never... homegrown dried plums marinate in sherry, homegrown dried persimmons marinate in port, and homemade candied citrus peel; all is in readiness to bake fruitcake this weekend. It won't get to age for a month, but my hope is that it will be right tasty next weekend.

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I was feeling significantly less than stellar on multiple axis, so back to sleep after breakfast was the order of the day. Doorbell rang around noon, and it was a drive by visit from my friend Meagn, who brought me a surprise early natal day gift, a small handmade hit-or-miss rag rug!

She was apologetic about waking me; I was both embarrassed to be caught sleeping in the middle of the day, and charmed at such a useful and thoughtful gift. Had been thinking recently about how nice it would be to have a bedside rug to ameliorate the shock of transition from warm flannel to cold floorboards, and this will fill the spot perfectly. Even remembered that I have a piece of non-slip underlay to put between the rug and the floor, so there will be no slip sliding away!
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Started working on the rest of the 12thC Norman clothing for Laurence (a commission sewing project). The red linen outer layer will be decorated with blockprinted trim stamped with heraldic ermine spots, stamped in black on pale blue linen.
When this is all completed, it will look most festive, with the red/light blue/black layered over the saffron yellow trimmed in red and white. Once the gift is at it's final destination, I will see if I can get Thora to take a photo of Laurence in his new clothing...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted wooden AC support
2 candied grapefruit peelneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 even more dried persimmonnew lid worm bin paper recycling
4 blockprinted ermine trim
x -
5 xx -
6 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

today's gratitude - a new thick rag rug, made for me by a friend

Friday, December 13, 2019

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine begins to prepare...

There will be fruitcake, oh yes, with homegrown dried fruit. There will be rum balls, from the ancestral family recipe. There will probably be acorn cakelets, and apricots stuffed with chocolate. There will be hot artichoke dip, and cheese, and quince jelly... There will be visitors here in just over a week, and there is a lot to do to prepare!
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Somehow, in the washing up yesterday, my most favorite breakfast bowl (handmade by my friend Kaðlin) had a chunk chipped off the lip. Not enough to make it unusable, but broken pottery is sad. I keep a mostly worn down Alundum* stone next to the sink, for just such occurrences, to smooth out the edges of chips, or glass. (I usually use Alundum stones to grind down the surface of cloisonne, as it is just enough harder than glass, and when used under water, does quite a nice job)
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A note to self, do not buy arugula in a big bag from the farmers market, as it all goes south in one fell foop! and is impossible to separate the sad bits from the still good greenery. Better to buy in small quantities, or better yet, try growing my own... Hmmm is it a warm weather green, or a wintertime green... must look up. Wondering if could be grown indoors??? I love it, but only ever want a small amount at a time
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted wooden AC support
2 candied grapefruit peelneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 xnew lid worm bin paper recycling
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 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

today's gratitude - the small abundance that allows me to offer hospitality, the gift of the trees with fruit to share, and the knowledge that some of my friends will be here next weekend...

*Alundum stones are chunks of white aluminum oxide abrasive, and come in various grit sizes, the ones I use most often are 150 grit...


Thursday, December 12, 2019

is enough enough?

in which our plucky heroine cogitates...

This is probably the last year I will participate in the annual "Sewing With A Plan" challenge...

Not because I have stopped enjoying the challenge, but because I am getting close to my long range goal of having enough clothing, which for me means having eight each of the various categories of garments that are a necessary part of my wardrobe. Eight because that means a week or so between doing laundry. Over the many years I have been pursuing this goal, my clothing has gradually become almost but not entirely self-made, and has become something that pleases my eyes and my tactile and design senses, and even draws positive comments from complete strangers.

After I finish SWAP 2020, I will need a few specific niche garments*, but mostly my yearly sewing will shift to mending, and to replacing garments too worn to mend. On the average, a garment in regular rotation lasts about three to five years before the fabric is worn out, so personal sewing will still be ongoing, but somewhat less intensive.

* niche garments on my sewing list:
  • a new bathing suit
    (needed soon, because a trip to McMenamins soaking pool is in the offing later this month!)
  • a pair of overalls
    (for those rare occasions when trousers are needed)
  • a new raincoat
    (my current "raincoat" is a venerable 20 year old Goretex outdoor jacket, and looks quite shabby)
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What else I have, which are never taken for granted and always at the top of my count-yr-blessings-gratitude list, are my beloved if far flung family (parents, sister, brother, and their families) and my equally beloved and equally far flung circle of friends (too numerous to name). And, I have a home, a house, in a relatively safe place compared to much of the world, with a sound structure, hot and cold running potable water, and enough electric power and space to do much of what I need and want to accomplish.
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there is one great gap, however, missing from the center of my life:
I will never have the story of my life be one with a dearheart to share long years with. I remind myself often that even those who were given that gift can and do often lose it through death or mischance, and that tis better to live as a singleton than to live with another in unlove. I do get wistful and sad (and frustrated sometimes at all I have needed to learn to do myself without help), and wish for a special person to share my adventures with, to talk to in the dark warmth, to hold my hand, or wrap me in loving arms...
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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted greywooden AC support
2 xneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 xnew lid worm bin -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 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

today's gratitude - the kindly thoughtfulness of Gersvinda, who knowing that I lack a vehicle, offered me transportation to and from the regional Laurels meeting, which otherwise would have required me to spend almost five hours on public transit there and back (note: I would have skipped the meeting, as that is far more time than I can spare)

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

a bit of sweetness

in which our plucky heroine is certain that a modicum of happiness is best homemade...

Am gradually filling up the Fido jars (which I use for storage of dry goods and not for waterbath canning) with dried persimmons. Ran two trays of half plums from the freezer through the dehydrator as well, as it seemed to me that they would work well as a fruitcake ingredient. Gosh they take a lot longer than the persimmons to dry, probably because they still have their skins on. Now cut into small dice, and will be soaked in something alcoholic, probably port, to soften them again prior to baking them into cake along with dried persimmons, homemade candied citrus peel, and some pecans from Costco...
.
I use the Christmas Cake recipe* in Nigella Lawson's "How To Be A Domestic Goddess", though I modify which dried fruits to use, and always add pecans. I find it useful that the recipe has several different sizes of cake possible, as I usually make the smallest size, since I know not everyone loves homemade fruitcake like I do, and I don't make it very often even so.
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There are currently five 8 oz jars of persimmon ketchup cooling on the windowsill, this batch made entirely without any capsicum either as an ingredient or as a seasoning. My friend Tullia cannot eat anything in the capsicum/nightshade family, so this batch is for her... while it isn't the vivid red of tomato based ketchup, it has a dark orange-y color, and an entirely ketchp-y flavor.
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Have also finished the multiple blanchings needed to start turning thick grapefruit peel into tasty candied peel, (some of which will be added to the holiday cake, and some of which will be sent by post to my dear father as a birthday gift) and the well blanched peel is currently being simmered in sugar syrup. It will need to dry at least overnight, and then be rolled in sugar granules and put aside in storage.
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Yesterday morning, when changing from bus to Max downtown on my way to the Social Security building, I saw this amusingly odd window display, of hairless women and headless, handless, and footless men! Not sure what the message is - I am most definitely not the target demographic...

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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 capsicum-free
persimmon ketchup
2 walls painted greywooden AC support
2 xneckline has dotsdamaged shoes
3 xnew lid worm bin -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 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

today's gratitude - homegrown tree fruits

*this recipe is close, but not quite the same, the recipe from How to Be a Domestic Goddess is not online

Sunday, December 8, 2019

random Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine is feeling heartwarmed...

Best thing in the previous week - young Heather got me a tiny heater as an early birthday gift: a little half-size oil filled radiator, just right for the wee bathroom here at Acorn Cottage. Turned it on for a half hour, and the temperature in the bathroom went up to 65F - no more shivery showers. And, while I turned it back off after the ablutions, with the door closed, the room stayed noticeably warmer than the rest of that end of the house for several hours.
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I've been making steady progress on the yellow undergown for Laurence, which is mostly completed. I decided that the actual hem could be machine sewn, since it only entailed turning up the serged hemline twice, and the machine stitching simply blended into the gauzy texture of the linen. The escallop trim is being stitched in place by hand, and while I'd normally just turn that over to Thora, it is being a peaceful thing to do while winding down later in the evening
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Finally started making progress on the Pelican ring for Wanda, once I found where I put the relevant components... those darn "safe places"! This one was tucked into a ziploc and attached to the pinboard; one would think that would be obvious and easy to notice. I've decided that the small rectangular clear plastic boxes from the dollar store can live on the Ikea storage rack behind the workbench, as that is ALWAYS the first place I look for roving commission pieces, the little boxes are a good size to hold components, and they fit nicely on the storage rack. Finding "homes" for things is an ongoing but someday-ending task. I am good at putting things away in their home, once there is one. The ring is a remake of a former ring of hers, redoing the ring to a double band and resetting the tiny historical silver Pelican intaglio as a ring gem.
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Somehow, I forgot to post photos of the finished scrappy knit top that coordinates with my scrappy collage cardigan. As part of my goal to use fabric from the resource shelves, the whole project used most of six different scrap knit fabrics (grey floral jersey, grey/cream marled hemp, black/cream marled hemp, black/cream striped rib knit, black jersey, and grey/blue striped knit), and is a great addition to my SWAP 2020.

The cloud collar, grey colors, and floral bodice fabric reference "misty moisty morning"...

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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 x 2 walls painted grey-
2 xneckline has dots-
3 xnew lid worm bin -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 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

today's gratitude - a warmer room for personal ablutions

Sunday, December 1, 2019

grey day - in a good way

in which our plucky heroine is pleased with how very much difference a change of color creates...

much painting was accomplished this weekend, thanks to the help of Heather and Brandon the remaining walls in the kitchen have had fresh coats of paint, and that phase of transformation is complete...

I love grey walls. Have pretty much decided that the larger bedroom will be the same color as the kitchen, since there is rather a lot of the second gallon left. I love how that color feels cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and really sets off artwork and woodwork. To me, it is kind of the "little black dress" of wall colors.


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December SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 x 2 walls painted grey-
2 xx-
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 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

today's gratitude - confidence in my own design sense

Saturday, November 30, 2019

slow and steady

in which our plucky heroine makes use of a simple idea...

I've wanted a leather catch tray for my bench for years, and after converting it to a cutaway version it was finally possible. Then it took months for me to figure out a removeable/replaceable attachement system...

Toggles. First some wirework with scrap brass wire to create a toggle with an eye, then hemp cord tied in a loop. The loop is run through the eye in a larks head knot
Then the whole toggle/loop is run through a punched hole in the leather in a second larks head knot. Five eye screws attached to the underside of the bench, as anchor points... the brass toggles are sized to neatly fit through the eye. It is a tidy and functional fastening system, and uses materials that were on hand.

I realise that this is not anything like rocket science, but a pretty simple concept. Sometimes it just takes a Long Time of Cogitation for a good solution to work up to the surface of my brain, and when trying to do something for which there are no easy internet tutorials, I have learned to be patient with myself and my mind.
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Took a while to get up to speed this morning. Heather and Brandon are here to help out, and my initial idea for gathering up assorted yard detritus and heading out to the transfer station turned, in the face of how cold it is, to instead, completing the painting of the kitchen walls. Which basically took all day, though putting a fan and one of the little oil radiators in the kitchen and closing it off from the rest of the house encouraged the paint to dry.

We cleverly decided that our Friendsgiving meal would be better cooked and served before we tore the kitchen apart to paint two more walls, and it was a wonderful feast! Heather brought a package of BIG scallops from the good fish market in Olympia, which I cooked on the stovetop in a vaguely "scampi" style -  browned butter in a pan, and seared on one side, then turned and cooked just long enough on the other while I made up a butter/garlic/sherry sauce. Side dishes of a big green salad, some steamed sweet potato, and oven roasted brussel sprouts with olive oil and baslamic vinegar, followed, later on, with narrow wedges of my homemade pecan pie.
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November SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 three sketches necklace pegsyard waste bin
2 2 more sketchescardigan sleevespaper recycling
3 scrappy collage cardiganharvest 15# persimmons lots of leaves
4 scrappy collage knit top
patched overall pinafore apple watersprouts
5 floral scarf Tullia mitts yard waste bin
6 rain capelet side yard drainpipe
paper recycling
7 Awesome sauce Drusa mitts
-
8 quince jelly hooks for plunger x
9 quince sauce
leather catch tray x
10 persimmon ketchup x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - being able to complete projects, with the help of friends. Having skills and knowledge to make incremental progress that will make further activity more pleasant.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thursday thoughts and gratitudes

in which our plucky heroine spends the day at home...

Today I'm going to make preserves, and sew, and clear my workbench. I'm not going anywhere, partially because no invite, and partially because it is a holiday I have ambiguous feeling about so didn't push for an invite anywhere... so I decided that I would spend a chunk of the day on preserving food, as a practice of additional gratitude and I feel okay about that. (I started to go down that tunnel, of being depressed that no one wanted my company, and decided that using the day to be grateful was a better plan. For me, the key to maintaining my mental health is remembering to choose my focus.) This blog post by Terri Windling seems relevant to today, as does this: Haudenosaunee Thanksgiving Address - Greetings to the Natural World
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Finishing up some UFO's this week..

A new cotton lawn headscarf in blue and brown floral pattern. It always takes ages to do a hand rolled hem; this was started this spring and then set aside for other handwork. Since a number of my older Indian block printed scarves are starting to wear out, and I wear scarves often as my own hair is thinning and my head gets cold, it seemed like a good plan to finish up this project, and maybe start to look for another piece of cotton lawn to put in the "transit handwork" basket.

The leaf embroidery on the wool mitts with half-fingers for Drusa. It is going to be a cold winter, and my friend lives in a woodland yurt, heated by a wee little stove fired with the leavings of her woodworking. I want her clever hands to stay warm while she does needful tasks...


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Wednesday evening - seven 8oz jars and one 4oz jar of Awesome Sauce now cooling after preserving... one of my goals is to turn stored frozen food into the intended condiments. There will be Awesome Sauce (British chili jam) and Plum Sauce (homemade pseudo-hoisin), and some Strawberry Rhubarb sauce... plus, the persimmons all over the house are becoming ripe enough for me to start running the food dehydrator (and to try again for persimmon ketchup, this time sans cloves...
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I have been gradually and experimentally working on the rain capelet for a while now, finally finished on Tuesday... it is based on the German gollar pattern from Katafalk, but extended in the center front to a pointed vee-shaped hem, the better to add a sturdy outerwear separating zipper found in my stash-o-zippers. Finally sussed out how to draft and in what order to add pieces to create an extended underlap to one side of the zip to create a draft excluder.
Fabric: supplex bonded with goretex and thin fleece, lined with polartec. All edges bound with nylon lycra knit. The whole thing looked sort of sketchy/floppy until I added the edge binding when it firmed up and looked like an unusual but real piece of outdoor gear. I look forward to finding out if/how this model XP1 will work in realtime, it is a piece of gear I have wanted for ages...
The shoulders come out just a bit past my own shoulders, so should hopefully keep the parts that get the most soggy to stay dry. My idea is to wear this over a wooly layer in the ordinary damp wintertime, and to also be able to wear it over my current mostly worn out rain jacket for the same reason.
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November SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 three sketches necklace pegsyard waste bin
2 2 more sketchescardigan sleevespaper recycling
3 scrappy collage cardiganharvest 15# persimmons lots of leaves
4 scrappy collage knit top
patched overall pinafore apple watersprouts
5 floral scarf Tullia mitts yard waste bin
6 rain capelet side yard drainpipe
paper recycling
7 Awesome sauce Drusa mitts
-
8 quince jelly hooks for plunger 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's gratitude - good friends, good food, a good home, and reasonably good health... truly all and any of these are a blessing

Sunday, November 24, 2019

a busy weekend...

in which our plucky heroine has Thora come down to visit for the weekend, and to help me with tasks around here and errands that require a car...

Probably the most fun activity this weekend was yesterday evening the spontaneous decision to make some block printed heraldic inspired trim for our pal Laurence of Damascus. The design is is arms "per pale gules and argent, an escallop counterchanged". It didn't take long to carve the 1" square block, though it took several hours to actually print the linen trim bands. I love the Speedball textile ink, while it cleans up easily with water, the ink is oil based, and after curing for a week or so, is both permanent and washable, without needing to be heat set... this red and white trim will look quite splendid on his new saffron yellow undertunic!
.
a quick sketch became a tiny carved block, a test stamping with rubber stamp pad ink,
then on to the textile ink and the white linen strips
many bands of red and white trim... enough to trim the cuffs and the hemline
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Thora spent rather a lot of time on yardwork, weeding the side yard pathway, raking the front and back yards, and the leafy litter has been piled up over some layers of old branches covered with corrugated cardboard, in a sort of proto Hügelkultur bed... as more yard debris that isn't weeds turns up, it can be added to that spot, and eventually a raised bed will be created. I myself did a bit of dandelion pulling, and some pruning of the largest of the apple water sprouts, as the tree really needs help. I will do a bit more pruning as time and lack of rain allows...
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Other assorted tasks included dealing with the abundant quinces. They were all peeled and cored, and cut into chunks. The peels and cores were simmered on the stove for an hour or two, then the pectin rich liquid strained off til the next day. Time simmering in the slow cooker overnight softened the quince chunks nicely, turning them from pale yellow to deep red. (Thora's comment on arrival was "ummm is that a bowl of meat") Once they were drained and packed into the freezer containers for the time being, the remaining simmering liquid was combined with the liquid from the previous day, measured and 3/4 the amount of sugar added. When the temperature of the liquid reached 220F, I processed what turned out to be a total of 9 4oz jars of lovely ruby-colored quince jelly.
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There were trips to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning, and Sunday a thankfully quick trip to Costco to replenish the sugar stash, as well as adding some shredded cheese to the shopping cart. All because my pal Elfrida shared her experience with "cheezles" a sort of low carb waffle made from cheese and eggs! Thora and I stopped at the local "Target" store and I picked up a mini waffle iron (nonstick) to try this out. Our plucky heroine has difficulty when eating breadlike substances, and I was intrigued at the idea of something that would fill that niche while being basically protein and fat instead of grain-based. The experiment was a complete success! Tiny waffle "cheezle" for the win!!

1/2c grated cheese + 1 egg = 2 mini waffles... no grain at all
I ended up making it into an open face chicken sandwich, and foresee many more of these in my future, as they are fast and easy ...
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November SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 three sketches necklace pegsyard waste bin
2 2 more sketchescardigan sleevespaper recycling
3 scrappy collage cardiganharvest 15# persimmons lots of leaves
4 scrappy collage knit top
patched overall pinafore apple watersprouts
5 xTullia mitts -
6 x side yard drainpipe
-
7 x Drusa mitts
-
8 x hooks for plunger 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's gratitude - good friends and a sound memory, as well as memories of sound...
Today Charlotte posted a video from the Grateful Dead concert we went to on Halloween night at Radio City Music Hall, in 1980. I remember that trip like it was yesterday, the long drive to NYC, her reaching for my hand at the concert saying to me "come and dance", the subway ride afterwards back to where we'd left the car, the lights outlining the bridges out of Manhattan... it was a different world...

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

out of sight out of mind, and other Thursday thoughts

in which our plucky heroine notices that somehow, the quinceling is beautifully dressed no matter what the season...

Quince leaves have held on tightly while most all else in the yard has blown away in the autumnal winds.

(and remembering earlier in the year...)
The blossoms are beautiful in the springtime, and the abundant fruit is delightfully scented:
Soon I will cook down the last of the harvest into jam, or quince paste, or quincemeat...
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Started cutting out the pieces for the small rain capelet based on the 15th c German gollar. The challenging part is that I really don't know what I am doing, but attempting to put in place a separating zipper down the front, and add in an underlap to keep the front a bit more weather-proof. And figure out how to edge bind the darn thing. It is definitely experimental, due to the lack of experience working with a combination of laminated DWR fabric combined with Polartec. Wish me luck!
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well that was nice while it lasted... with help from Thora, we had managed to remove all the red plastic strips from the Stupid Chainlink Fence that my backyard was no longer UGLY. I had been enjoying looking out the bedroom window, across the yard and through the Stupid Chainlink Fence to the nice wooden fence of the house across the alley and the trees beyond.

I guess the people that live there decided that the best way to clean their yard up for the rainy season was to toss whatever they no longer wanted over their fence so that they wouldn't need to see it all winter long. I am sure that it never occurred to them that it was an eyesore to anyone else, since they no longer have to look at it. Said nice wooden fence is now obscured by a massive pile of broken summer yard detritus, the remains of an aboveground pool, parts of brightly colored plastic play equipment, and soggy huge cardboard boxes containing who knows what... technically it is in the driveway to their alley garage, so on private property... just hideous to look at. City life, first world problem, sigh.

Some friends have suggested I speak to the unknown cross alley neighbors, but I am loath to do so, since a. the only thing I know about them is that they have noisy summer parties and scream nastily at their children and b. I cannot imagine any courteous way to approach strangers and ask if they would please remove rubbish that is, after all, on their own property. Hopefully they will take it away, though that will require a truck and a trip to the transfer station, which is expensive (the debris is all much too large to fit in a rubbish bin, and none of it appears suitable for recycling either)
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In happier news: I managed to get the side yard rainwater drainpipe re-connected, if in a somewhat kludgy fashion using pieces of copper wire and some thin chain. (one of these days I really need to get an actual extension ladder - my stepladder is not really Quite Tall Enough) for some of the needful tasks) The big wind that removed many of the leaves from the trees also blew the drainpipe connector right off the wall, and it needs to be in place to encourage the rain in the guttering to be channeled away from the house foundation.
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November SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 three sketches necklace pegsyard waste bin
2 2 more sketchescardigan sleevespaper recycling
3 scrappy collage cardiganharvest 15# persimmons -
4 scrappy collage knit top
patched overall pinafore -
5 xTullia mitts -
6 x side yard drainpipe
-
7 x Drusa mitts
-
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

today's gratitude - I never get tired of looking at the different colors and patterns of autumn...