Saturday, June 15, 2019

gorram squirls

in which our plucky heroine hates varmints...

And this, friends, is why... squirrels...
Since sitting on the front porch with a rifle is not an option, I'm going to have to build a heavier planter guard. Probably going to use heavy galvanized mesh this time, since they chewed through the former plastic barricade mesh then threw it on the ground!I asked the Master Gardeners query table at the farmers market about how to discourage squirrels, and their response was to laugh hysterically...
fortunately they seem to leave my salad table alone, probably because the bird netting is unpleasant to deal with and not sturdy enough for them to get a grip on it. Building a support that is easily removed by me (in order to harvest planter contents) to hold bird netting is a pain, though. I have lots of possible galvanised mesh options. For later, after the enameling work of the day is finished, and house chores are done...

today's gratitude - fairly moderate temperatures that allow me to continue working

Friday, June 14, 2019

fixit Friday

in which our plucky heroine makes small things better...

found the hidden allen wrench sets, and now the serger has nice new needles. Not only that, but with the allen wrenches was a singleton (of the correct size!!), in a holder with a loophole, which is now tied to the crossbar on the thread holder, so serger wrench searches will be a thing of the past!
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carefully took apart the An Tir t-shirt and have successfully added gussets to the somewhat too tight sleeves, using scraps from the original shirts, so it should be darn near undetectable. Once in a while it helps to have not quite gotten to decluttering under the worktable.
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after several days of cogitation, it occurred to me that double-sided permanent tape was the correct answer to how to re-stick the cork backing to my steel rulers, which are old enough that the adhesive holding them in place had simply given up suddenly and all at once.
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Sent the "Even-up" shoe off in the mail to my online friend Cricket, who has a broken foot and must needs wear a boot for at least six weeks. Since I am not wearing a boot currently, and hopefully never, it may do her more good than sitting in my closet with Das Boot.
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Finished charter painting #4 this week. Charter painting, like simple sewing, is something I can do when the brain is too fried from heat or ? to be able to do much else.

I experimented with some different sorts of background diapering on the interior decoration, and consider the result was acceptable for a first go at it. (I had tried just leaving the background a blank solid blue behind the compass, but it looked odd) Actual size of this motif is about 1 1/2" x 2", and the golden squares in the background are about 1/4" across.

Let the hand and eye out to play with color, and require enough focus that I stop paying attention to the temperature or the ouch, or whatever. Better for our plucky heroine than meditation, because at the end, there is a Useful Thing...
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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 charter #3 boombox cord plugbag yard waste
3 batik popover dressweeds gone front yard bag yard waste
4 charter #4
weeds gone back yard yard waste bin
5 xweeds gone side yard yard waste bin
6 x apple tree mulched
-
7 x 4 sewing shelves sorted
-
8 x new serger needles -
9 x
rulers cork reattached -
10 x gussets added to shirt -
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the good customer service from Gesswein, which when they sent me the wrong thing, initially told me to send it back at their expense and they would mail me the correct item, and then called me back to tell me to just keep the (useful but not what I ordered) item, as returning it would cost them more than the item cost.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

thermal whiplash

in which our plucky heroine recovers physical equanimity...

the temperature dropped almost 40 degrees between yesterday and early this morning... I mostly have my brain back! Even at the hottest part of today, it was under body temperature, and once the sun dropped below the horizon, it cooled down rapidly to a pleasant mid 60's, and riding my bike to shop for food was a treat.
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Being a rather scatterbrain day today as I flit from one task or temptation to another. Really, if tomorrow is no better, at least the enameling will get done if nothing else, and I will break out my timer and do some 20/10's and dig into some of the neverending tidy and declutter
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Over at The Sewing Place, there is a "Fun with Stripes" contest this month. Since there are still gaps in my wardrobe plan, and there are stripey fabrics in my resource center, my idea is to take a looksee and if anything simple and fun leaps out, maybe join in the fun. I've been collecting inspiring striped garment images over on Pinterest.
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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 charter #3 boombox cord plugbag yard waste
3 batik popover dressweeds gone front yard bag yard waste
4 x
weeds gone back yard yard waste bin
5 xweeds gone side yard yard waste bin
6 x apple tree mulched
-
7 x 4 sewing shelves sorted
-
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 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 - waking up to temperature in the low 60's

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

wilted Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine tries not to melt...

80F indoors feels cool when it is 102F outdoors in the sun... just in case you were wondering! The weather here today is horrid.
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Definitely going to plan a trip north later this summer to see the Victorian Radicals special exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. I love that whole era of artwork and artifacts (Pre-Raphaelite to Arts and Crafts)
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Been working on another charter, now that the Scythian one is completed. Here are the steps to paint a simple border design -
Simple charter border painting... first step, choose a color, and fill in the motif (I chose dark oxblood red)

Second, add highlights to the motif (here I chose metallic golden)
Third, start filling in the background with another color.

Just keep going, the tiny background spaces look so different when they are painted in. (actual border is less than a half inch wide, so I am not fussed about my slight lack of precision painting here)

Finally, inking in the edging makes it all nice and crisp again!
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Still looking for the fabric set aside and intended to make pockets on my new marble batik popover dress. Or if not that, then some other fabric that will work. Cannot Have Dress Sans Pockets!!
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today's gratitude - the nice lady in the convertible, who drove really slowly across the street into the parking lot, to delay the bus long enough that I could catch it and not have to stand in the heat to wait for the next bus!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Tuesday tidbits, or ringing the changes...

in which our plucky heroine enjoys frugality and hates the weather...

We made a super tasty dinner Saturday night with black cod, oven blasted sweet potatos of two colors, and asparagus - more food than four adults could eat for dinner, so we had the cold leftovers for Sunday lunch. There were still quite a few asparagus stalks left, so my plan was to cook up a batch of demonology soup (avgolemono courtesy of autocorrect) and add the asparagus for a special treat!

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My intention to finish the (partially completed) enameling project before the danger heat advisory hit was stymied by my required jury duty on Monday and Tuesday. The good thing was that the county courthouse is air conditioned, the bad was that the weather outside quickly deteriorated. Thankfully we were set free today before the worst of the heat hit, and I made it home under the noonday sun and after a cooling drink, laid down to take a nap with the fan on high.

Neighbors told me it was 100 F over here this afternoon. I double checked against the NOAA records, and it was a record breaking high today of 96 at the airport, which makes is very likely it was at least 100 here, as we usually run quite a bit hotter than the airport (which is right on the river so gets lots of cooling breezes) I'm going to make a judgement call and I am making an executive decision to wait til Friday to turn on the kiln in hope that the danger heat advisory will be over. 1500F oven indoors and 100F outside the house temperature is not a good combination.
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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 charter #3 boombox cord plugbag yard waste
3 xweeds gone front yard bag yard waste
4 x
weeds gone back yard yard waste bin
5 xweeds gone side yard -
6 x apple tree mulched
-
7 x 4 sewing shelves sorted
-
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 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 - getting set free early from jury duty

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine slaves in front of a hot oven...

ZOMG... I splurged and bought myself a tube of good quality titanium white gouache. It is eversomuch easier and more workable to use for highlights on scribal projects!
This is the finished charter I started painting last Monday. Now with the shading, highlights, and metallic mica paint added. I am much happier with how it looks now, than how it looked earlier* in the week. My goal is, when painting charters, for the final result be something that I myself would be pleased to have presented to me. Sometimes I get closer than others, but that is what I strive for.
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Isabel and Thora both came down this weekend to work their Blue Cedar House magic on Acorn Cottage. Thora's daughter Aesa spent part of the weekend here and part with her granny. A vast amount of yard was tackled and tamed: The front lawn mowed, backyard weed whacked. The front yard garden beds weeded, back pathway weeded, side yard weeded. Most excellently the under the apple tree grass removed and replaced with mulch. The entire backyard had the edges all hand weeded. Thora spent some time with her Portland sweetie, and Isabel helped me get four shelves in sewing room sorted. It was rather epic!
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Took some of the pieces of discarded fabric, and layered them into a sort of contoured padding filling in the Obnoxious Bed Divot. Once the memory foam was put back in place, it proved an reasonable fix for the problem. Had the most pain-free sleep in quite a while.
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During regalia season, the work must happen. Usually I don't do my studio work when BCH is here, as it is a better use of my time to collaborate with their efforts in housey improvement. However, this weekend is, among other things, all about the enameling, because although Friday was sweet with rain and barely 60... by Wednesday the temperature is supposed to be close to 100F!
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I'm still not finished with working on my Very Simple Popover dress, mainly because I have been busy with actual commission work in the studio, so slightly less time for sewing. The dress is almost done, just needs me to find where I put the pocket pieces and attach them... I also sent off to Etsy for a new-to-me refurbished pair of Birkenstock summer sandals, so I am closer to the desired June wardrobe than I usually manage. I'll pick out a suitable pair of earrings, and consider putting together a new tote bag. No bracelet though, I never wear them.
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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 charter #3 boombox cord plugbag yard waste
3 xweeds gone front yard bag yard waste
4 x
weeds gone back yard yard waste bin
5 xweeds gone side yard -
6 x apple tree mulched
-
7 x 4 sewing shelves sorted
-
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 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 sweet clerk at the floral department gave me a pair of rainbow cheek stickers, and I was so charmed that I wore them all day!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

an unexpected treat

in which our plucky heroine has a wish granted ...

I've been noticing how various things I wish for are sometimes granted in unexpected ways. I was feeling so wistful earlier this week, and tonight had a wonderful deep conversation with an old friend, albeit via the chat online rather than in person, but since we live almost 300 miles/five hours drive apart that is rather a blessing of the modern world...
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getting back into charter painting, and am about halfway through this Three Mountains Order of the Crystal Rainbow charter. This is one of the pair of Scythian style artwork charters I created for the Barony back in February.

Here it is about halfway done, with the initial solid coats of paint applied, but not yet with any of the detail work added. Next there will be shading, and highlights, and some golden metallic paint to bring out the details of the animal style artwork so beloved of the steppe nomads...
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in the interest of the neverending saga of closing open loops, and having recently finished my blue floral blouse project, my current sewing project is finishing a new rayon batik summer popover dress. This was also languishing in a project bag, cut out but unsewn. The fabric is just lovely, a dark indigo with lighter blue marbling, with occasional highlights of rust/red/golden. It reminds me of the flame from my soldering torch. When this is completed, there will be 8 popover dresses in my closet, my summertime goal met.
  1. grey texture floral
  2. japanese indigo print
  3. black/cream calligraphia
  4. teal overdye
  5. black sparkly
  6. blue moon batik
  7. multicolor refashion batik
  8. indigo marble batik
Finally after many years, the goal of having a weeks worth of seasonal clothing for each season seems within my grasp. Pinafores, knit tops, and now popovers are all there. Blouses and everyday dresses still need attention, and there are other specific garments that are still missing i.e. an actual raincoat, a pair of overalls, and a new swimsuit etc... Eventually my personal sewing will consist of replacing garments as they wear out, which seems to me to be both sustainable and pleasurable. A gradual shifting variety, all within the context of my chose palette and peculiar personal style.
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In the workshop a new enamel regalia project is happening, hoping to get the enamel part done while the weather is still moderate. 1500F kiln heats up the room quite well, not intolerable when it is 68 out, most unpleasant when it is 85...
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This book on medieval illumination showed up on my FB feed, and since it was available from my local library, it was worth looking at... Claire Travers is obviously a highly skilled artist, and the book covers some aspects of creating illuminations that are not as often included in other manuals I own or have read.

In addition to the usual survey of time periods, and basic information, what I found interesting is that she includes information on how vellum is created and how to prepare it for use, on various medieval pigments, including a good color chart, on painting drapery, and how to paint faces, as are an assortment of step by step diagrams of line filler details, and background diapering. While I wouldn't say this should be "all you would need", it would a good addition to an illuminators library.
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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 x boombox cord plug-
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 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 - connecting via the internet.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

irregular spiral

in which our plucky heroine been drifting tidally in and out of sorrow....

Missing the eras in my life that are past, most recently because it is turning towards OCF, and that was the hub of my year for many years, and it is no longer. Missing both intimacy and playfulness. Wondering if the resilience and intermittent calm I have developed is enough of a trade. I feel as if in some ways I have forgotten how to build or have a deep connection to others, wondering if indeed I ever did, or merely imagined it. Not that I am not a good friend and sibling and child of my Aged Parents; the one thing I hope my years have taught me is to be better at listening...  I am grateful to have the privilege of being this age, of not dying from the cancer seven years ago, but as I have stopped talking so much, and listening more, I wish that I had someone to who wanted to know what is in my heart/mind.

"I am no longer that young woman.  I am always that young woman. Everything is lost, and yet nothing is lost, at least as it a part of the person I am -- always absorbing, always evolving."
- R. Mardel Fehrenbach from her blog
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It was a most unrestful night last night, full of nightmares both subtle and direct, and I eventually woke up before dawn realising in the dreamlands that the mushroom cloud to the north was the Pacific Rim letting go and not direct airstrikes.

Time to revisit/refill my earthquake shelf, and replace the stored water in the closet. Other than that, we each wherever we live need to be prepared for the hazards of the natural world, and do what work we can to ameliorate the hazards of the human created one.

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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 x x-
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 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 gift of seven years beyond cancer, I never stop being grateful for not dying then. Peace and good journey to my childhood best friend Vanessa, who wasn't given that gift...

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The tail end of SWAP, and other Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine is planning out the tasks for June...

There are more metalwork/regalia projects to work on, though none as all-encompassing as the Minoan pendant. Some design work to complete before June. There is sewing that needs done, and the yard is hollering at me to get going on the summer fruit tree pruning. Like any household, there is a seemingly never-ending list of repair and renovation. Never a dull moment here at Acorn Cottage.

Most recently, the clothesline snapped under a load of washed tourney bedding, so my next housey chore is replacing it, which needs done about every two years... acquired one additional rod hanger, a few more hose clamps and new clothesline, with the effect of extending the line one more fence section for additional drying space.
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Not sure if actually sewing Summer 6PAC makes sense, since the closet already has basics, and what is really needed is filling in the few gaps, mending worn/torn garments and possibly a few new SCA clothes. Maybe more a "Summer of Basics" approach? 

1. batik popover - If I finished up the batik popover I cut out for SWAP it would be another summer dress, plus it turns out that I can wear popovers like pinafores, over a knit top, and they look quite playful and just right for the few days of  "June gloom" (weather cool/cloudy in the AM and turning hot in the afternoon).

2. new bathing suit - my old suit is scary faded, and has been repaired twice. My idea is to modify the suit pattern I have yet again, and instead of a skirt that attaches just under the bust, which then floats up annoyingly when actually in the water, create an attached skirt that is inserted into a new seam at about waist level. Shouldn't be too too difficult, right?

3. striped shirtdress - the June contest over at Sewing Place is for "stripes".  While there are already two other striped dresses in the closet, I plum love striped dresses, and there is some black/grey/blue striped fabric that may have enough to make another one. This time I will draft a new collar, or maybe make it collarless.
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Today the floral blouse (designed back in January) is done. I'm pretty pleased with it, and adding the detail of flat piping did just what I had hoped, delineation of the collar and front button bands. Switched the original button choice (tiny plain black) for slightly larger, almost black shell buttons, which have a sort of blue iridescence.


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I tried making this last week, and it was nom. I will likely make it again. I substituted in crushed buckwheat crispbread for the breadcrumbs, because wheat, and that worked a treat. It would make delicious picnic food, or daytrip food.

Laurie Colwin’s Mustard Baked Chicken
from: Home Cooking, page 100

“The chicken is cut up and coated with mustard into which some garlic has been grated, along with a little thyme, black pepper, and a pinch of cinnamon. It is rolled in fine bread crumbs, dusted with paprika, dotted with butter and cooked at 350 degrees for about two hours. It can be served hot or at room temperature and will never let you down.”


Unfortunately though, this recipe used up the last of my mustard, and it turns out that there is now only one store that carries the organic brown mustard in glass jars. Last year I was able to buy the desired mustard at my local grocery. Does it seem weird to any other than me that most of the organic companies have switched to plastic jars? I mean, I understand it saves shipping weight and hence greater profit, but plastic?!? how is that sustainable - not! Anyway, on a day when I have extra hours, I will take most of the day to head over to NW to the Food Front Coop store. They are also the only shop that carries the toothpaste I use, so I may as well stock up.
Edited: I found a backup jar of mustard in the pantry.
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June SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 blue floral blouse backyard clotheslinedead rope
2 x x-
3 xx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x
-
7 x x
-
8 x x -
9 x
x -
10 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 lovely fabric I won as a prize is now residing in my closet as a new blouse. I am grateful for the generous gift, and will think about my SG pals whenever I wear it

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

an Epic Project...

in which our plucky heroine was recently commissioned to create Laurel regalia based on this Bronze Age Minoan bee pendant from Malia 1700 BCE

In some ways this is the most complex project I have ever done. It is 3 1/2" across and the enamel is 1/2" in diameter, made from sterling silver and enamel. There was quite the process involved in making this a reality. It starts with a concept and a request...

The initial sketch, followed by the working drawing done to scale.

Since the bodies of the insects need to be exactly shaped and very dimensional, the first step would be to carve two matrices with which to shape the silver. I traveled up to Mud Bay to work with my former studio partner Bill Dawson, and learn how to carve a matrix. After acquiring a suitable heavy bronze piece, the carving could begin. These are the tools I will use to create the matrices that will shape the silver for the bodies of the insects. Very tiny chisels and burnishers, and a Very Small Hammer.

The first matrix is outlined on the bronze block, and carving away the excess begins to create the shape

two mirror image matrices need to be created, so I get lots of practice using the hammer and chisels to carve with

creating the matrices took almost two days

to test how the matrix is progressing, plasticine clay is pressed into the mold, which shows where further work is needed shaping and smoothing the design

and, of course, it is really challenging to get a matched pair of bodies

finally 23 ga sheet sterling silver is driven into the two matrices, and the bodies of the insects are cut away from the extra metal using a jewelers saw

the shaped bodies and finished enamel laid atop the working drawing - looking pretty good so far...

additional "bug eyes" will be added to the bodies - tiny domed silver discs, which will be surrounded by beaded silver wire

These component parts will be soldered on to each body: a decorative eye, and bands of beaded wire for the abdominal stripes

One set of body comonents soldered in place, and another one will need to be done before the next step. Here you can also see the notches carved into the thorax to make space for the future legs

By the end of the third day, I was able to solder the bodies to the backing, which will form the wings and support the rest of the piece

the corrugated wire that trims the wing edges is patterned using Bronze Age technology. I used a bronze die on the silver wire, stamping on a stone anvil using a stone as a hammer. It worked astonishingly well, and in some ways was easier than using a modern hammer.

Once back at Acorn Cottage after my weekend up at Mud Bay, the next steps were to shape and solder to the backing plate the corrugated wire that will become the edges of the wings. I made good use of my new titanium strip clamps to hold the wires in place

Sawing away the excess backing plate, once the wing edges are all soldered down and the inner wing area has been shaped in a raised curve

Getting a sense of just where to place the enamel to leave enough room for the legs. The bezel will need to be carefully soldered in place. Each subsequent soldering operation becomes more and more tricky, figuring out how to get enough heat where needed without affecting any previous work

The bezel to hold the enamel is soldered in the center of the piece

The lower two legs are soldered to the edges of the bezel, and held in place in the notches in the insect thorax

The upper two legs are carefully shaped to overlap without rising too high on the bezel, then also soldered to the bezel edge

The last part soldered in place will be the bail that the necklace will hang from. This is a good place to stamp my makers mark - the running horse from my heraldry, and the crown because I hold a Royal Commission from the Crown of An Tir.


Once the soldering is done, the entire piece is polished, the enamel set in the bezel prepared for it, and I also fabricated three small decorative disc-pendants to hang from the bottom edge and add that aspect of movement so very appealing to our distant ancestors and to many of us today. The pendant is completed...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
bin of straw
8 tween undergown I-cord edging yard waste bin
9 tween undergown
flowering plum pruned -
10 tween undergown x -
11 strawberry-rhubarb sauce x -
12 Minoan pendant x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the chance to expand my knowledge, and to create lasting beauty of great meaning for others, and have that be my livelihood

Back in the world

in which our plucky heroine was awakened at 5:30 am...

by a loud, massive, and ongoing cacaphony of crows ! I pulled  on my dressing gown and went out the front door to reconnoiter. The ruckus went on for almost twenty minutes. They were swirling around two large fir trees on our block. As they quieted and slowly drifted away, I gave in and went back to sleep. The rest of today will be all about starting the new studio commission, unpacking the rest of the Egils gear, and beginning summer fruit tree pruning.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
bin of straw
8 tween undergown I-cord edging yard waste bin
9 tween undergown
x -
10 tween undergown x -
11 strawberry-rhubarb sauce x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

Thursday, May 23, 2019

too much pollen

in which our plucky heroine is tired of sneezing...

Having suddenly had the high pollen levels activate my sneeze reflex excessively...well bah, the local Walgren's, that formerly carried the allergy med I prefer, no longer has it. There are no other drug stores that I can get to tonight. I am grumpy, and wish that the trees would keep their sperm to themselves!
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Fortunately, in the middle of the afternoon I remembered that I was partway through making strawberry-rhubarb sauce, so in the throes of packing, I have taken a break to put it into jars for pantry storage, which are now bubbling away in the kettle on the stove, and I am back to trying to match up the packing list with the things in the SCA closet (edited - ended up with four 8 oz jars and one 4 oz jar... not bad for a pound of rhubarb and a pint of strawbs)
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
bin of straw
8 tween undergown I-cord edging -
9 tween undergown
x -
10 tween undergown x -
11 strawberry-rhubarb sauce x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

catching up and company

in which our plucky heroine enjoys a visit...

Very late yesterday I finished the last two of the five tween garments I've been working on this week, and fell into bed. My pal Marya came over today to use my big table for cutting out SCA clothing for her family; her teens, like the Blue Cedar tweens, just keep growing. It was lovely to have company, even though I was done with my tween sewing (which was actually good, since that meant there was lots more room for her to use), Today I did almost all the prep for the class I'm teaching on Saturday, took care of some desk work, and also set up and ran the serger to do seam finishing while she kept sewing. I managed a tasty lunch of a combination of farmers market bok choy, salad table greens, some Trader Joe's frozen cooked teriyaki chicken, and a pot of Kokuho Rose rice... 
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I went looking for my blue floral fabric and when I found it, lo and behold, I had already cut out the pattern pieces for a blouse, but never sewn it together! Whoo hoo!! I think that I might actually be able to complete a new blouse by the end of May...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
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8 tween undergown I-cord edging -
9 tween undergown
x -
10 tween undergown x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - having backup food in the freezer so that when friends visit there is enough to make lunch for us both... I've been so busy with work that shopping has been sporadic

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

three in two days, and still sewing

in which our plucky heroine is more than halfway there...

My young tween friend Genevieve made some block-printed trim a few months ago, and I've made up a new calendula color linen SCA undergown for her, as well as a Viking Age apron-dress from blue linen, to wear at events this summer. I've of necessity been sewing like a madwoman, as both the tweens have kept on growing larger, and need, for decency sake, garments that actually fit them! I also finished one of the three new undergowns for Aesa last night, and have great hopes of getting everything completed by the first camping event of the season.
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The rhubarb and strawberries from the farmer's market are currently macerating in sugar, will be cooked into fruit sauce for yoghurt, and then due to be bottled up for the pantry shelf.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 tween undergown grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 tween apron dress green onions planted
-
8 tween undergown I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - that I have space to lay fabric out for cutting, and machines (especially my serger) that allow for speedy sewing when it is necessary. I keep imagining our foremothers who would have had to take days and days to prepare fiber, weave, then sew fabric into garments...

Saturday, May 18, 2019

two tiny friends: Hazel and Zinnia

in which our plucky heroine remains amused...

it is tempting, but not possible/sensible, to dive into the rabbit hole of miniature creation. I did however, bring small bits with me on the bus whilst going to and from the farmer's market today (fresh peas! and strawberries! and rhubarb!! yes it is that time of year...) and finished up the second Tiny Rag Doll.

Made from scraps leftover from my blouse fabric (brown/cream linen chambray), and I decided to try a slightly different hairstyle. Apparently her name is "Zinnia" and her somewhat old-fashioned friend is named "Hazel". They will require clothing, more than just their wee felt shoes. I am tempted to make them some Viking Age clothing, since our big SCA event is next weekend, or more likely, take some fabric scraps with me and stitch some up while I am there...

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I'm worried about my computer, the power switch on the CPU/tower (don't laugh, I know it isn't state of the art, but it works) has started behaving badly. Half the time when I push it to start the computer it doesn't start "all the way" but begins to start and then stops. Are there some kind of springs inside the button that could stop working? I am a little nervous about taking the whole thing apart to find out... and, I still need to finish the Big Project of Importance, and have FIVE gorram tween undergowns to complete before Friday, so taking apart the computer zone will just have to wait its turn. I can, at least, simply use the power strip to turn it on and off, until I get the time to disassemble the whole spaghetti wire mess...
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 2nd tiny rag dollplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 x grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the double yr EBT program at the farmer's market, which makes buying produce a little more affordable...

Friday, May 17, 2019

an evening in the cathedral

in which our plucky heroine has an unexpectedly lovely evening...

I fell in love with Ann Wood's pattern for "the tiny rag doll". I thought it might be a great thing to do with my young friend Ellie, who is clever with her handcraft, and about the age I was when I fell in love with miniatures. Ann Wood has assorted other tutorials for miniature clothing and other miniature items (dishes... a bed made from clothespins...) on her blog as she gradually adds items to the small world she creates.

But first I needed to try it out for myself... The pattern pieces are so small it is perfect for hand stitching, and the instructions are really clear. I am eager to make some tiny clothing, and a few tiny friends. She is just over 5" tall. This kind of hand stitchery is perfect for interstitial time, I did most of it while riding the bus or waiting for appointments. ..
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Well that was wonderful!! Late this afternoon got an unexpected phone call, inviting me to join friends at the In Mulieribus concert tonight at St Mary's Cathedral... While this video isn't from the concert, it gives a sense of the type of music we heard tonight: exquisite a capella womens voices singing music inspired by the 12th C Hortus Deliciarum manuscript. What a special treat!!

My favorite tonight was "Primus parens hominum", one of the pieces from the manuscript that survived complete with music...

(different musicians, but gives an idea of what it sounded like)
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 tiny rag doll
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts random garden plastic
6 x grapevine pruned
paper recycling
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - a delightful concert of beautiful medieval music, and the kindness of friends who thought of me when an extra ticket became available.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

brought to you by the letter B

in which our plucky heroine takes advantage of unexpected bounty...

Currently the yard has many beautiful things to see, and in the workroom, progress on The Project is proceeding apace; if all goes well it should be done by tomorrow. This is good, since there five garments for the tween girls that need sewn in the next six days. Bizzy buzz buzz here at Acorn Cottage!
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While there are many tools and supplies that would be good/useful additions to the workshop space here, what was needed was a wee saucepan that could be dedicated to non-food use. Yet another reason to be grateful for the Goodwill near Acorn Cottage. There was a gap in the rain, and a spectacular sunset, when I rode my bike over there and perused the shelf of kitchen equipment, which while sadly sparse in the metal zone, actually had exactly that, for $3.99.

Why, one wonders, is a saucepan desired for the workshop? There is a somewhat larger pan for fabric dyeing, but the current project in the works has some dimensional characteristics that seemed to be retaining tiny amounts of citric acid pickle which were drying in place. Not ever a problem with forms that have no hollow spaces, but unusual projects call for unusual measures. The solution is a solution... of baking soda and water. Simmer the piece in the liquid to neutralise any remaining citric acid before doing any finish work. And, obviously, kitchen pans for workshop use is a bad protocol (though technically both citric acid and baking soda are food safe).
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European black elderflower is blooming now in the parking strip... The persimmon tree, pruned again this year, is showing signs of future blossoms. I still need to prune the new quinceling, as well as the backyard apple tree. Summer pruning keeps fruit trees within bounds, winter pruning encourages growth, both are useful...
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Today the Church of Free Bread had raspberries! So in addition to the tasks for today, most of the 12 oz package will get bottled up for the pantry, because raspberries are super perishable... but some will end up on a bowl of yoghurt as an afternoon snack was delightful. The bottling was an experiment, and it will be curious to find out if the jars seal, since a lot of the liquid siphoned out when I removed them from the canning kettle. Usually I cook down fruit into a sauce or jam, but decided to try the raw pack hot syrup method, using the Very Light Syrup from the Center for Home Food Preservation.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 raspberry saucerenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 x
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts -
6 x grapevine pruned
-
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the universe gave me raspberries... nothing more need be said!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Tuesday tidbits

"practice makes proficient" - not perfect, not necessarily progress...
proficient* = competent or skilled in doing or using something

So make good choices about what and how you practice, whether with hand or brain or spirit, because repetition makes whatever you repeat more likely to happen again. Some of the things I have practiced over the years/decades have really made my life easier, like I am much better at soldering than I was when I started. Some of the things I have practiced over the years/decades have made my life much more difficult, like assuming danger all the time, which has limited my life in uncounted ways. We most often think of practice in terms of trying to learn new skills, but we are practicing continually in all the different spheres we exist in. I continue to attempt to notice what I am practicing, and to practice by choice and not by default. This is way harder than it sounds, and is in itself a type of practice...
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Every time I've ridden the train between Boston and points west, this curious structure has fascinated me, and this trip I managed a few decent photos...

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as seen from the train, and enlarged to show facade

The water visible in the photos is Farm Pond in Framingham, the terminal end of the Sudbury Aqueduct, which was built between 1875 and 1878, and was in use for over 100 years. The small building is not an unusual home site, as I had imagined, but rather a "gate house" that houses part of the machinery that controlled the flow of water.
Here is a photo from 1910, looking in the opposite direction, and the rail line is clearly visible in the background.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 earbud case replace button patches chicken house
2 Ursa pullover pruned parking stripchicken waterer
3 xrenewed raised planters lots of yard waste
4 x
plant salad table paper recycling
5 xplant tomato starts -
6 x grapevine pruned
-
7 x green onions planted
-
8 x I-cord edging -
9 x
x -
10 x
x -
11 x x -
12 x x -
13 x x -
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - the internet makes doing research eversomuch easier, as only those of us who grew up before will ever appreciate

*late 16th century: from Latin proficient- ‘advancing’, from the verb proficere, from pro- ‘on behalf of’ + facere ‘do, make’.