Showing posts with label thrifting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label thrifting. Show all posts

Saturday, August 17, 2013

button button

And now, on to the next garment: the black and white pinstripe blouse, which is an Eileen Fisher top that I found at Goodwill... It is rather too small in the torso, being a size S, so I have been cutting off strips from the lower edges and inserting them to make it wider. There will eventually be six narrow gores, which will allow the blouse to button down the front, with the concomitant effect of removing the loose lower panels and making the entire garment more like a blouse than a tunic top. But since I need and wear blouses, and this one has particularly excellent linen/rayon crinkle fabric, I am not at all sorry.

The other thing I am doing is that I am replacing the buttons. For some reason, the original garment has rusty brown color buttons that do not all match each other, and that stand out as the focal point of the top. Not my cup of tea, and not one of my chosen colors either. So, off with the russet buttons, and instead, simple matte black buttons instead. That way, the buttons will recede into the background.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

dreaming of autumn - reconstruction

our plucky heroine found an splendid Goodwill score - an Eileen Fisher top, which will be an excellent addition to my autumn wardrobe.

The style: a narrow button-front tunic, with long sleeves, a band collar, and fairly deep side slits. The fabric: a highly crinkled linen rayon blend, black with tiny double pinstripes. Of course, it didn't quite fit me... the shoulders were good, the sleeves were good, but the two sides of the front didn't meet... close, but not there...

center back of narrow band collar

This was too excellent a find to leave for some more svelte* girl to take home. The need to partially deconstruct the shirt has given me a chance to examine how parts of it are put together, in particular the intersection of the side seams and the side slits, and while it is not anything remarkable, it is worth my taking notes to get an equally smooth result in future efforts. My plan is to cut off some of the length to add narrow side panels, and possibly also narrow triangular gores in the back, so the top will skim over my curves, and then re-hem the lower edges.

views of the side seam before and after adding side panels

* svelte is an archaic Norse word for "starved"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

its curtains for you my pretty...

Living with a Goodwill at the end of the street makes it easy to drop in and check for useful things. Today there were two sets of Woolrich cotton flannel twin sheet sets, (missing a pillowcase), that were only $2.99 each. Flannel works quite well as a sewing muslin, and given the brand name, these were a surprisingly low quality flannel, somewhat loosely woven and pilly, so I had no compunction about their fate. (Oh how I love my now seven year old set of black Garnet Hill flannel sheets, worn, but still so soft and smoothly fluffy)

After washing them, while spending some time folding the laundry pile that is what remains of Mt Washmore, I realised that there was enough yardage, in a rather pleasant medium blue chambray color, to make a complete set of curtains for the living room from said sheets... As curtains, the slight overall pilling will not matter at all, no ones tender skin will be next to the draperies! And it would be a visual improvement to have the long window and the side window match. This will be added to Mt. Sewmore the current sewing pile; an easy project, just with many many little buttonholes to fit the hooks on the curtain rods...
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The knitted neckwarmer is almost done, the buttons have been ordered and shipped (on their way here from Texas), and soon it will be ready for the colder days ahead. Each thing that I knit I learn new techniques, some join the list of trusty tools. For this one I tried out a new-to-me cast off, the "Surprisingly Stretchy Bind Off" I really like it, it is easy to do, though a wee bit time consuming, and really is stretchy and resilient. It just might become my favorite plain cast-off. (Video tutorial here and Knitty article here
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There was some interest from folks about custom rainhats similar to this one that I made for myself. It looks like the cost would be around $80 - $90, and I can get the Goretex fabric in a variety of colors. Let me know if you are wanting a special hat made...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

brought to you by the color blue

It is a good thing that I do not paint houses for a living... Finally got off my duff and started painting the front porch. Thought that, well, I might get the primer coat on this afternoon, and then tomorrow, the actual trim paint. Hah! It is like painting the craggy craters of an toasted english muffin. The underside of my porch roof makes me happy, because the structure is all visible, but dang that means that there is more cutting-in than actual straightforward painting, and almost all of it (while on a stepladder) up over my head. After somewhere between three and four hours, two of the eight ceiling "bays" are primed, and the inside side of the front. At this rate it will take me at least another three days to just get the primer done.

Though today was not all that hot, the humidity made it feel steamy. Fortunately there was actually a bit of a breeze, between the times when it actually spit raindrops for a few moments. Given the summertime weather, painting by hand, with brush and roller, is actually not a bad option. The primer, (and the two colors of porch paint) all come from the Metro Recycled Paint facility down at Swan Island. I've been really happy with the quality of their paint, the porch will be dark blue, like the rest of the trim on Acorn Cottage, and the ceiling will be light sky blue. I'm thinking about painting just the very underside of the rafters dark blue also. (If my arms don't fall off, the plan is to also paint the ceiling of the front walkway the same sky blue; that will be MUCH easier, since that is an actual ceiling, as in flat, just cut in around the four edges and roller away flat...)

Yet another Goodwill goody today - I can has blue suede shoes! - a new, unworn pair of Birkenstock "Tatami" clogs, in my size (this is a picture of a similar shoe, but my pair is stitched and trimmed in dark blue, eversomuch nicer with the blue suede) Very suitable to coordinate with my autumn clothing, all grey and blue and black, and at $7.99 the price was suitable too.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

trouble brewing and some small good

The trouble brewing is WASPS !! Not the invasion of the white people, but the small black and yellow stinging kind. When I went to refill the water in the henyard, there were wasps about. And as you may recall, stinging insects and I are not friends at all! Towards evening, when the weather cooled off and it was dusky but still light, I gingerly looked under the "eaves" of the shed, and there are several clusters what look like wasp nests, complete with wasps and hexagonal cells. I didn't get really close, as I am very cautious, and I have no idea what to do about this development... Given the position of the wasps, using the stand at a distance and spray poison method wouldn't work, as it would be necessary to lie on the ground and shoot straight up to get under the eave boards. And there is the complication that the henyard adjoins the shed; perhaps moving the hens and shifting the fencing needs to happen first; I can't let the hens eat poisoned bugs. I am actively seeking advice on this problem, anyone have suggestions??

Some small good things so far this week... I had a chance to visit with my friend Rois, who is as always a big inspiration for household goodness: new wall colors, new salvaged beauty, baby chicks growing up, life there at Hrafinstaad is never dull. We even had time for a trip to the Bins, and though it wasn't a great bins day, I did find a lovely stripey turtleneck in black and grey (what else) for when the weather cools off. If it ever does.

Two things that I miss from when I lived in Olympia are actually coming here to Portland, most unexpectedly -
My favorite vitamin store "SuperSupplements" (they carry many lines of high quality vitamins, heavily discounted) just opened a shop down near Clackamas, and will open one on W Burnside sometime probably in November. They are the only storefront that stocks the multivitamins I like (KAL high potency soft multiple-iron free), and it will be much more convenient to just hop on the MAX, than to mailorder them, not to mention saving on shipping charges. Also, the bank I used all the years that I lived in Olympia, Heritage Bank, has bought Bay Bank and Cowlitz Bank. While normally I would pay this no attention at all, there was a quarter page ad in the Portland paper, so I called them, and there will be is a branch downtown on 5th. As I still have an open account with them, this again will be much more convenient, and might allow me to shut down my account with Chase, (which is a bank that I hate)

The velour bathrobe commission is finished; when sewing velour, there is a lot of hand basting involved, which I'd not really thought about, that directional nap is really prone to movement otherwise. Today, a trip to the downtown library was deemed necessary, as I couldn't find my copy of Threads #19 anywhere (I'm guessing that it is somewhere in a box of fabric) That issue has the article by David Page Coffin about raincoat design and sewing. I've not made progress on The Raincoat Project, as work trumps personal sewing, but I keep thinking about it... On the way home, my intuition said "stop in at the Goodwill" and indeed, there was a $4.99 Calvin Klein sheet set in cool steel grey, Egyptian cotton. I'm thinking shirtwaist dress for the autumn; once I get the LaFred Athena Two blouse fitted properly it will also make a great dress bodice, if cut off at the waist.

I've noticed something interesting - if I post more often, it seems like I actually get more done; when I don't, time seems to just slip by unnoticed. The process of writing about life here at Acorn Cottage encourages me to focus on my daily life, which is actually one of my goals, as the days of our lives are all the wealth any of us really has.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

surviving + wishful Wednesday : presser feet

The good news is that the front porch roof really is making a difference, it is no longer necessary to put up the mylar window shields in the living room. The shields make a huge difference in the east and west unshaded windows though, and besides, they protect my home from alien mind rays {ha ha}
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Some useful errands done this morning, and then late in the afternoon E very kindly drove me and my sewing machine over to Modern Domestic, the new local sewing machine shop / nifty classroom place. The plan was to see if any of the snap on presser feet fit well enough to be useable; the short answer is yes, that the feet that fit a "Bernina 220" will also work, so it just might be possible to get a hemmer foot and a flat fell foot. My machine was brand new in 1987, and does not take most regular feet, or normal Bernina feet, but if it it possible to order just the snap on portion, all will be splendid
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Goodwill has been good to me these last few days. Their air conditioning is lovely and cold, and despite my self promised frugality, three things needed to come home with me... First, another ceramic mug. I have a bit of a weakness for Japanese mugs with painterly cobalt and brown glaze. They are from the seventies maybe, not sure, but not contemporary, and over the last four years a few have found their way here. This one is a bit bigger than most. Second, heavy cotton marled black/white (reads as grey) knit pants and tunic, which will be re-fashioned into a nice heavy turtleneck tunic for next winter. Third, 100% cotton, multicolor floral sheet set, which were intended as muslin for the raincoat project, but since they are actually in good condition, will probably just might be added to the high summer percale rotation. And there is still change from the 10$ bill in my coin purse...
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Yep, it is truly summer when the flannel sheets are replaced with the percale ones.That would be this week, early July. There is a very small collection of vintage cotton sheets in the linen closet. They are hard to find at all, it being trendy right now to cut them up and sew them into new garments, and even harder to find in likeable colors.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

textile Tuesday

Upon awakening, my groggy morning ears heard the radio tell me: "whatever your holiday traditions, we hope you make kink a part of it" Despite the fact that I know those are the call letters of the station, it was truly an unexpected exhortation...
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Perhaps a bit of fabric shopping will be necessary after all... I started laying out some of the patterns yesterday, (as a birthday treat for myself, taking an hour off work for some pre-SWAP prep), and discovered that the stripey flannel that I had intended for my matched stripe is not printed with the stripes evenly spaced at all. They vary just enough that matching them won't work.

I'll be sure to take swatches of all the relevant fabrics with me, and look for another blouse-length of a suitable medium to small scale print. I've been resisting doing any shopping at all, but was given a small holiday bonus from a client, and decided to spend half of it on textile treats for me: a length of fabric and a new circular knitting needle in one of the sizes I don't yet have.

Now I just need to find where I put the Marcy Tilton pants pattern, I put it somewhere safe, which wasn't with the fabric, or with the other patterns.

I'm going to make a knitted vest, which may end up as part of my SWAP. Though I didn't have enough of the grey yarn in my stash for a whole garment, I am going to combine it with the bittersweet chocolate brown yarn (recycled from a thrifted sweater) and make a striped vest version of Sonnet. My sketch shows it with a generic jumper and turtleneck shirt:I'm taking my inspiration for this from these sweaters: stripey sonnet, embroidered knitting, and delightfully striped. I'm hoping that this will be both practical and a bit whimsical, so as to be friends with the other new clothes I'm planning... And since garment sewing on public transit is pretty difficult, this will be a way to make SWAP progress while travelling to and from work

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday musings + media

Despite storm warnings, the weather this weekend here in Portland wasn't a repeat of last years blizzard. There was plenty of frost and ice, but not so much that no one dared the streets to come to our art and craft sale. There was quite a bit of local traffic, (thanks to the great job of putting up signs by Team ManyHands) and various friends came by both Saturday and Sunday. It turns out that my neighbor Molly is an old friend and climbing buddy of Vandy's and they had a good time catching up. We all sold some things and it was fun, (if also a lot of work)
Truly my life would be far less flavorful without my pals. I was reminded of that when Vikki came back from a quick jaunt up the street to Goodwill with some lovely wool/silk yarn for me; to unwind the skeins into a more useable format, I turned to the most recent gift from another dear friend, Rois of Hrafinstaad. She had found this umbrella swift at the Bins, and sent it my way knowing that I do quite a bit of textile craft, and that if I couldn't use it I'd surely know someone who could...
It looks far more like an actual umbrella than any other swift I've ever seen (they are mostly these wooden contraptions, rather than a delicate construct of wire and blue plastic). I'd been wanting one for a long time, and this one even matches the house! I still need to do the actual winding by hand, but it is eversomuch easier than trying to unwind a skein by draping it between two chairs!
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I decided that all my tiny frost sprites were a bit too unstable on their little floss feet, and attached them to flat stone bases. These two looked so happy together that I couldn't resist the temptation to make them a pair... I will be listing them in my Etsy store for use as a decoration, or as a potential wedding cake topper.
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I didn't forget my housiversary last week, the year four gift is traditionally fruit. I think that Acorn Cottage will be getting something from the plant nursery this year, like oh, say, some elderberries for fruit and flower, pretty to look at and healthful to eat
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Lastly, as a way of saying thanks for not dumping snow all weekend, I found this little ditty -


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Steppe-n out...

Okey doke... at 16°F this morning the requirement is to find all the useful wool layers. Not only the BIG mittens, but the SCA outerwear, a wool wrap coat, and a calf-length wool sleeveless coat. That one is made from melton cloth, a triumph of pieced-together rectangles and triangles, with the edges bound in handwoven wool trim, and the sides appliqued and embroidered with the same Norse ponies that are carved on the bed headboard. (Yes, I spent hours constructing these clothes, they are my go-to clothes not just at events but whenever the temperature warrants dressing like a viking, even if I do look a bit odd even for the streets of Portland.)

And instead of my sweet knitted acorn hat, it was time for the deep winter hat, the one made from two layers of tightly felted wool, all embroidered and spangled and trimmed in fluffy white fox fur. With seven layers from the skin out, I looked a bit like a fur-trimmed cone a steppe nomad toddling off along the sidewalk to go to work, but inside all that I kept warm and safe.

I've tried several variations on the wrap scarf around nose and mouth, and have decided that I really don't like inhaling mohair, or in fact, inhaling any kind of fluffy wool. I may make a cowl specially for this kind of weather, that is lined with true Polarfleece. Yesterday I did a bit of recombinant sewing and attached the fleece sleeves from a thrifted jacket to the bottom edges of a pair of bike shorts...Kind of fast and dirty sewing, but now my lower legs are WARM. (I plan on adapting my regular pattern to make long fleecey nether-garments; waiting for the bus gets downright chilly!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

In which we find out that lots of flowers isn't always a good thing...

If you remember, early this year I was all excited to get a new fruit tree for Acorn Cottage; I got a dwarf Bartlett pear from Friends of Trees. I was a little concerned at the disparity between the small root ball (about 2 to 3 gallon) and the over six foot tall tree. I was delighted when the tree was covered with blossoms in the spring, and thanks to the neighbors beehive, it set many little pears. I cut the baby pears off, as all my reference books say not to let trees fruit the first year. Well, it turns out that all those blossoms and fruit were not just for pretty, they were a sign that the tree was really stressed. Then came that week of really hot weather last month. I recently noticed that my new tree was looking unwell, the leaves were turning brown, but only on the underside. I have been good about givng it water, and looking online I couldn't match the symptoms to any obvious pear diseases...

A trip to Portland Nursery would let me find out what was wrong with my pear tree...the symptoms were inconclusive enough that the woman at the information desk called for one of the fruit tree experts. He, after looking at my leaf samples under a microscope, told me that it was some kind of fungal infection, essentially untreatable, and that the tree may do better next year once it has more roots. (sigh) The only suggestion was to clean up its fallen leaves this autumn, and not compost them, but throw them away. I hope the tree does recover.

On a more cheerful note, while I was there, I remembered that I needed to repot my baby fig trees, (metal pots and hot sun = cooked roots). They have a large selection of fiber pots that were not very expensive. I actually like the way these pots look, they are a textured dull brown, made from 100% recycled paper, and are even manufactured locally, in Corvallis. The five gallon size, 12" x 13", were $2.99 each. I like that as my figs get bigger, I can move them into bigger fiber pots (the sizes go up to 16 gallon), and the old pots, if not in good enough shape to reuse, can simply be composted.

My other good find for the day was that my local Goodwill finally presented me with a waffle-maker that both heats up and makes standard (as opposed to Belgian style) waffles. I have been looking for one of these for at least a year and a half, I guess most folks these days don't make waffles at home... But since I have started back on the low-carb thing and I have a great recipe for waffles made from almond meal instead of flour, this is even more welcome, as a way to add variety to my breakfasts.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

sometimes you the windshield, sometimes you the bug

I just figured out how to take pictures at dusk. My favorite time of day. I keep finding things that my camera can do. Haven't figured out the tripod thing yet, but I rested the camera on Nimblefoot's* roof, hence the nifty reflected-in-water look of the picture of my neighbors house. Isn't that just a great Maxfield Parrish sky.
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There is no way I can get all the things done I had hoped to before my mom arrives. Oh well. Most vital to me is the gardening, that is actively time-bound. I may have missed the deadline on some things, but will be playing catch-up none the less. My baby potatoes need to go in the ground NOW. This weekend I will be picking up heirloom pepper and tomato starts from some local folks a few miles west of here. Tomorrow early I will be borrowing a little pickup truck from my kitty-corner neighbors, and getting a load or two of leaf compost for the garden. I've also just finished reading up about chicken tractors (mobile hen housing) and am thinking about constructing a small "summerhouse" for Henny Penny, 'specially since I just scored two double baby gates at the ReBuilding Center, which will make nice strong walls. Rois and Chance may send over one of their older hens to keep HennyPenny company. Hens are really social, she is not happy being a lonely chicken...
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Smokey the Compact Akita is done with her first round of antibiotics - yay! She seems much somewhat perkier, (given her advanced age). She is still having "plumbing" problems though, and there are a few slightly worrisome things that showed up in her urine test. Need to do another test next week...The vet wants to put her on a secondary medication in addition to the estrogen, to see if that will take care of the piddling. (if that doesn't help, other, scarier possible diagnoses are kidney failure or diabetes, I so don't want to even think about that) - sigh
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My thrifting foo is strong this last week. My local Goodwill presented me with a large square shawl, paisley wool in nice dark rich colors perfect for winter, when I need something to keep my shoulders and neck warm. Found another tea mug, white with blue birds and nests and branches, which will be useful at next Sundays Tea Party. My best find was a small steel cabinet with glass sides, door, and shelves, kind of like a cross between a medical and curio cabinet. That one was heavy, I needed to go home and get my wheelie cart, and rolled it back down the street to Acorn Cottage. Not quite sure where it will end up living, but it was too nifty to not bring home
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Today when Stacy and I stopped at Home Despot (she needed some hardware, and I wanted to use the opportunity to bring home the final piece of copper pipe for living room curtain rods) I noticed that one of the pieces of pipe was somewhat shorter than the others. Upon asking the clerk about it, not only was it 50% off, since it was not a full length, but also, at 8 1/2 ft long (rather than 10) was exactly the length I needed - double yay!
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My mom is arriving in a week and a half, on the 15th. There will be a Craft Tea Party here at Acorn Cottage on Sunday the 17th of May; come and say hello to my most early art and craft teacher and inspiration, my mom. She taught me to knit, and sew, and encouraged my artistic adventures all while I was growing up. Tea party is the usual time - noon to fiveish, tasty snacks, friendly chats and handicraft projects welcomed...
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* Nimblefoot is a Saturn station wagon, fifteen years old with over 200,000 miles on the odometer. I ride my bike, walk, and take public transit.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

two good things

This morning, on the way to the bus, I stopped in at the Lombard Goodwill, as I often do. To my delight, there in the woefully small furniture section, was an armless office chair, with a five-wheel base and working hydraulic height adjustment. I've been hoping to find several more of this style of chair, as they are ideal for my students. Even better, the price was right, and it was not raining or snowing, so down the middle of my street I wheeled the chair back home to Acorn Cottage before continuing on my morning errands. I only need to find one or two more of this style chair, and I can check that line off my ginormous to-do/to-find list.
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One of the things I wanted to do was to go to the Main Library, to catch the Gems of the Private Press Movement: Kelmscott, Ashendene, Doves, Golden Cockerel exhibit, since tomorrow will be the last day. It was exciting to see the actual artifacts, wonderful books from William Morris and all the rest. I think I may have found a quote to use as a motto for Acorn Cottage...
~ :: ~

A true source of human happiness
lies in taking a genuine interest
in all the details of daily life
and elevating them by art

- William Morris

~ :: ~
well, back to the workroom...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

be prepared...

After my one student finished up, and headed back to Seattle with her husband (we checked the webcams for I-5, didn't; look too bad from the parts we could see) I decided that I needed to get out of the house, briefly. It is dark, and cold, and the wind is really Howling in the fir trees down the block. If I had an electricity-generating wind turbine on my roof, instead of the turbine attic ventilators, I'd be really delighted.
- - - ~:~ - - -
Gave the hens some warm water, and some "warm hen porridge" I concocted from leftover tofu and crackers. They looked at me like I was crackers, and went back into their cozy nest box. Well, I tried, I know they need water, but I can't force them. I'll try again tomorrow morning. Smokey loves this kind of weather, doesn't understand that I do not, at all. If I could work at home all winter, with enough housey-warmth that it wasn't onerous, and a full pantry, so all I had to do was look out the windows at the pretty white landscape whilst I was warm and dry and fed, indoors, well maybe I'd feel differently. I'm working on getting my life to that point, and a modicum of working at home is happening, like this weekend. Yay! ( to move forward on keeping the house warmer during the two or three months where that is an issue)
- - - ~:~ - - -
So I decided, that since this arctic cold is forecast to last a week or so, to get another quart of milk, and to see what there was at Goodwill. Getting dressed to go out was a production. longjohns - wool socks - rain boots - already wearing a wool jumper and longsleeve turtleneck - (since the combination of wool sweater and Goretex rainjacket was less than warm, I switched to plan B) - SCA wool coat - Irish mohair scarf - embroidered tourney blanket wrapped and pinned as a cape - then a silk kerchief and my AnTIrian Viking hat. I looked quite a sight, and had I fallen over, I might have bounced... walking was really dicey. The sidewalks were a mix of crunchy and icey, and the roads were just all ice. Tomorrow will be special. After I get tired of enameling tonight, I'm going to recut the two pairs (grey fleece, and teal velour, ah well, warmth before beauty) of ginormous longjohns that I found at the Goodwill to fit my much shorter legs.
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Happy happy phonecall yesterday. We sorted out some of the details of the sewing for new sink trade. I need to do some more detailed sketches, and make a template of the actual faucet piping, (and I'm thinking that probably also the drain fitting as well). And in exchange I will be making an interesting woolen winter coat, lined and tailored in a historical but not Viking style. I love projects that are challenging but do-able. I will be on the lookout for black wool, dense but not too thick, once I have some idea of the style. And someday, eventually, Acorn Cottage will have a copper cloud sink (grin)

11:23 pm
: noisy night

The wind is HOWLING, not just high in the treetops, but round the corners of Acorn Cottage. I'm going off to gather the candle lanterns and matchboxes before bedtime, Just In Case.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursday thoughts

Under the down puff I sleep warm, and Smokey has her own thick fur; this morning my house heat came on, by itself, for the first time this year (I keep it set at 55). One of those year-milestones... I think winter is here.
In the morning while dogwalking: with a sudden thud, a squirrel fell from the sky. Well from atop a large tree, directly in front of me and her own darling self. Not sure who was more startled. Happily, it scampered off and up the next tree before we had a squirrel squeaky toy incident.
The gods of small thrifting have been kind to me lately: A nice older Revereware saucepan to replace the one that died. I can tell it is older, as tis heavier and the handle is attached more solidly... A vintage clear glass Anchor Hocking covered refrigerator dish,perfect for storing leftovers, which I'd been wishing for something like... Then an 18" tall oak jewelry organiser with spaces for 60 pairs of earrings and six necklace pegs, all mounted on a "lazy susan" base. This will be perfect for display; I think the universe is telling me to make earrings to sell, since I certainly don't own sixty pairs of earrings!
Which reminds me... we will be having a holiday sale after all, the Many Hands of the Last Minute Show on Friday December 19th from 11 to 7, and Saturday December 20th from 10 to 4 at the home of the lovely Rafny. So there will be wonderful locally handmade artistic delights for whatever (seasonal holiday of choice) you celebrate.

And that Sunday will be a Solstice tea party here, so mark your calendars for a busy weekend
Sunday the 7th is "houseyversary-3", I've been living here at Acorn Cottage for three years now. The traditional gifts for a third anniversary are leather or crystal. Hmmm nothing really comes to mind immediately that I can look for as a housey-gift...

Friday, October 24, 2008


I seem to have acquired more dang respiratory crud. Could this be somehow related to the disturbing of layers of dust bunnies and dog fur, or more likely the riding on the bus...

When Rafny and I went to the bins on Thursday, I made a lucky find. I'm doing my best to not add to the random useful-someday clutter here, so have a short list of "things I need". I was delighted to find a five caster pneumatic office chair, in quite good condition, for $5. The upholstery is hardly worn, and is even blue tweed... A timely addition in the workroom before the classes next month.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

weekend progress report

I have a number of wooden "book-boxes" that are sized to fit paperback books, which Mark made for me years ago, when we were living together. I had been thinking of mounting them on the wall in the hallway, as kind of a long shelf just above eye level. With the addition of an odd little Goodwill shelf, it runs the length of the hallway from the kitchen down to just before the portiere that divides the public Acorn Cottage from the bedrooms. While I had plenty of wall anchors, I needed washers to help secure the anchor screws, so Saturday afternoon required a trip to the Hardware Store with the Cute Clerk. (heck, this old gal will get her cheap thrills were she can...)

The shelf project worked out in a very tidy fashion. I'm eventually thinking about putting artwork up above the books, and the box-shelves are wide enough for small "sculptural" bits as well
The shadowbox shelf was originally an awful "Country with a K" Goodwill find with heart-shaped chicken-wire-filled cutouts on little doors. I thought the shelf layout seemed vaguely japanese, once I removed the doors and hinges. I've temporarily slipped some decorative paper behind the sections. In the lower left compartment is "A Year On the Farm" a really sweet Little Golden Book from the original series circa 1948
Of course, now that this shelving is up, the lower shelving seems even more disorderly. My eventual plan is to have several more long wall-mounted shelves, starting about two feet below the paperback shelves, and deeper, sized for the larger books in my collection. Ah well, one step at a time, and it does feel really good to get this little bit finished, using what I have already. I was also able to clear away a lot of hidden dust bunnies, and purged a few books to take to Powells, and some went directly into the take-to-Goodwill bag, which went away Sunday afternoon.

It seems that I prefer to do almost anything rather than sort papers. I think it is time to break out the timer, and do the 15 minute thing. I haven't touched the boxes yet, other than to move them out of the guest room. Perhaps I'd best get off the computer now, and go do a bit of that...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

monday musings and maunderings

Autumn is here. Time to take down the canvas roof from the front of Acorn Cottage; there should be few if any days now where sunwarmth in the front window will be excessive. The days are now, happily, cooler. This weekend, during an impulsive trip to Powells, there was a spell of very intense rain, glad I was to be indoors just then, and waited, browsing the books, 'till the squall passed....

Saturdays teaparty was curiously progressive in the temporal rather than the political sense. Only a few at a time showed up, which allowed for nice visity-talky, and over the afternoon a pleasant number of friends had come by. Rois and Chance brought over their former living room chairs, to be given a good home here. I feel so "grownup" now with a pair of matching chairs; they are small, in scale with my home, and look like a cross between Norse medieval and mid-century modern. When Bill stopped by yesterday, he commented on how Scandinavian they look, very Carl Larsson...

Chance also helped attach the Ikea shelf unit to the wall in the back bedroom, which is destined to hold stacks and stacks of fabric. It fits very nicely there, and will work even better once I get a sewing table to fit underneath, which will allow me to stop using the living room as my sewing room...

After teaparty time, we four who remained (Ian, Karyn, Jess and I) went over the river to have a tasty sushi dinner. Nothing better than an afternoon of visiting followed by more visiting sushi... Mmmm crunchy crispy dead baby cephalopods on rice...
Aaarg I hate it when I accidentally tap the wrong key and all my writing disappears
Sunday morning, on a quick trip to a "collectibles" market with Rafny I found a circular wooden "pipesmokers" rack that fits nicely on the workbench lazy susan. Now all my pliers have a home!

As I'd mentioned, Bill stopped by on his way back north, ofter dropping off the huge coronet and caps-o-maintenance shebang with the clients. I was glad to hear that they were very happy with the results of all our hard work. Bill and I chatted about projects, and teaching, briefly, then he left to go home, and I went back to my worm bin bag project. I found the plans online here. Spent the rest of Monday building the contraption, I hope my pet worms will like it. The worm-home fits easily in my tiny kitchen, and being closer to the food prep area will make dealing with the compostables simple. There was only one error in the plan supply list, you need more cordage than they call for; a bit of a pain, but not critical. I think that I can do a better job of patterning for the fabric cone that holds the worms, rather than a flat pair of triangles, I think a four-panel construction would fit the framework more neatly, and give a smoother 3-D cone-shape. Must acquire a bit more Ecospun felt and try it out...

This afternoon I wanted to see if I could get over to the Multnomah Art Center to find out about teaching possibilities. Turns out that Multnomah Village is just one bus ride away, about an hour, but no transfers. Along the way I saw the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, and later Food Front (the co-op here I hadn't seen yet, I'll need to go check it out another day, now that I know where it is).

On the way home I stopped at the Rebuilding Center, and found enough narrow flat molding bits to start working on the chalkboard project. Yup, I'm going to put chalkboard on the walls in the workroom, will be useful for teaching, and general note making, memory jogging, picture sketching goodness. I love chalkboards. When I went to Paris, I brought home two doorknobs and a child's chalkboard as souvenirs. You knew I was weird, but how many folks go to a hardware store in Paris? Even my family thought it was pretty weird, but they humored me...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday snippets + sometimes you have to beg...

I know that sounds weird. (or maybe not...) This afternoon I was walking up to catch the bus, and boy howdy was the Goodwill swamped with stuff. Not only was their driveway full, but about ten feet of sidewalk. As I was walking around the heap-'o-stuff I spied an interesting looking little chair, with a slightly corroded strap metal frame and bent-plywood seat and back. Looked kind of like a public school chair, and when I sat in it, it was Not Too Tall.

I am always looking for chairs that are not too tall, since I have really short legs. (Well, they do go all the way to the ground) I asked the attendant if I could just buy the chair and take it home..."Nope, got to wait for it to show up in the store" I know from sad experience that the things I see outside the Goodwill rarely show up inside, usually get put in the big blue truck to go Somewhere Else, probably to the Bins. I really wanted the chair, so I went inside to see if I could beg for it. After much abasement and excited explanation on my part of how very special this chair was to me, the manager agreed to go out back and price it for me.

He came back with the little chair, saying that since it wasn't in very good shape, it wouldn't have been good enough for the store anyway. I paid, and carried it off homeward. I noticed an interesting marker on the bottom of the backrest "Ironrite Health Chair". Being a curious soul, I looked it up and found confirmation once again that my eye is good. The chair, originally designed in 1938 as a companion to the Ironrite Ironer (a mangle for home users), is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art. Not a bad buy for $4.99.
I've been getting some nibbles about the classes I'll be teaching this Fall. Yay!
Talked with a really congenial woman this afternoon about sewing some skirts. She had lovely rayon fabric, and a really simple design she wanted copied, all well within my skills, but not quite in her budget at the moment it turned out (rayon needs to have finished seams, or it ravels unmercifully). If I had a serger, I'm pretty sure that I could speed up the whole process, as I believe that the seam finishing would happen at the same time as the sewing-of-the-seams. The thing is...I don't have a serger, and... I've never used one. I'm asking for information from anyone out there with serger experience, what do you like/dislike, favorite brands, advice for ignorant beginner...If anyone has a serger that they are not using, and would be willing to let me borrow for a while, I'd love to have a chance to try one out...
Sunday morning bike ride, before it gets too hot, take the paper recycling away, and on to New Seasons for groceries. I'm gradually getting stronger, and eventually hope to ride further than a mile or two at a time. It'd be nice if there was a nearby hardware store, none on this side of I-5, sadly they're all miles away. There is a Lowes near the racetracks, but the route there isn't very bike friendly. I end up taking long bus rides to get to my favorite hardware stores, today I needed to get two different kinds of wall anchors, since I want to put up the third enamel shelf, and put up the big wooden shelf unit in the small bedroom, to hold more fabric in a visible way. If getting the enamels out and visible is so inspiring to me, getting the fabric out of the Rubbermaid boxes will be equally joyful...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Hot summer day, carrying me along...

and what do I end up doing, when the temperature is over 90...why taking the afternoon off to go to the CraftPDX block party. Actually I think I was a little bit mad to go out, but the promise of paint-yr-own raku pottery had me in its spell. (Actually I did this last year and it was too much fun; I brought home two little cups with acorns) Well, this year I painted four little cups. My friend Rafny found me busy painting, I'm not sure that I was very sociable, I get pretty focused... Copper oxide and cobalt blue; some of my painted designs were a little smeared, like old "flow blue" china. The painted bands around the outside are about two inches deep, the cups themselves are not quite three inches tall.

"F" is for fox, and foliage, and feeding birds...
the glaze on this one came out a bit blurry

Inside the cups, more small painted designs...

I'm trying to make the best of the needing to stay pretty close to home this summer, by taking myself off on little mini-adventures around Portland. Last Sunday I rambled overland to the Lents International Farmers Market, and found a market that, while tiny, seemed to be a bit more what I expect in a farmers market. I brought home some baby zucchini, and a box of raspberries. (Well, some of the berries didn't make it all the way home... ) Overall, I am still looking for a good farmers market here...the one in my neighborhood has NO organic produce at all, and the big downtown market, while showcasing an amazing variety of products, is waay more expensive than even the upscale supermarkets. Sigh. The one thing I miss about Olympia is the access to food. I knew that I'd miss the Olympia Food Coop, but didn't realise I'd miss the farmers market, where it was possible to get cases of organic fruit "seconds" for canning, not to mention affordable organic produce. Heck, I can't even find organic u-pick fruit around here, though without a running car that isn't much of an option anyway... I guess I just need to get better at growing my own.
Last week I went to visit my marvelously creative friend Rois. (Her home is an inspiration to me, for the "style" I'm trying to achieve for my own home, the colours in each room, the mixture of contemporary and vintage furniture and artifacts, and the way they incorporate family artwork into the melange of their decor) We went off to see what the "bins" (Goodwill by-the-pound outlet store, for those of you not in Portland) had to offer. I came home with a big ring of skeleton keys, two board books for my young friend Heather's baby girl, and an almost new pair of black Birkinstock clogs. No picture frames though... I've been gradually collecting black picture frames, and moving my wall art into frames. We talked about having another winter holiday gift sale this year, (with better publicity).
On the way to the library, I saw a front yard all in iris, with a few other large flowers scattered throughout. I was amused; as iris blossom time is past, it gave the effect of an exceedingly large flowering meadow, with iris leaves as giant grass. I'm always looking around for non-lawn front yards, life is too short to spend it mowing the lawn, and one of my stated goals is to convert the Acorn Cottage "acreage", bit by bit, to food and flowers and fruit.
Is anyone else out there startled to see at the top of the weekend forecast on, a link to "Tournament Forecasts"? The images that came to my mind had nothing to do with what that actually signifies....

Saturday, June 14, 2008

shameless materialism

Thursday my dear friend Vikki gave me a teapot that she found at an estate sale... It definitely passes the William Morris test, as I know it is useful, and it is the most beautiful teapot I have ever seen. The shape is wonderfully sculptural, and indeed short and stout like the childrens rhyme. When I turned it over, barely visible through the glaze on the underside, if viewed at an angle I could see the makers mark, HEATH. A bit of research turned up Heath Ceramics and I was quite pleased to discover the provenance of this lovely object.

One of the things I accomplished today was a better support structure for my baby espalier apple. With some molding from the ReBuilding center, two tall metal garden stakes, and strips cut from an discarded bicycle inner tube, the tree is looking much tidier. There is one tiny apple, on the Golden Delicious branch, if it actually becomes ripe, I shall make the most twee little pie this autumn.

De-cluttering the house is going slowly. I did manage to clear off the dining table. Well almost, 'cos I then immediately started sorting the first of waay too many boxes of random papers, at least half of which went immediately to the recycle bin. I will clear the table tonight before bedtime.

Hens are back to laying again, hooray. Two of my garden beds are full of luxuriant weeds, which I shall be removing as I can, but I've discovered many tomato volunteers, probably thanks to the hens-in-the-garden escapade of last summer. Being sick for the last two months has rather crimped my garden prep for the summer, I anyone out there interested in exchanging garden help for enamel or sewing... ?

I think that being "materialistic" is actually not such a bad thing. If it is possible to cherish the beauty of the world, both the living world and the made world, without being attached to it. This includes, for me, doing all I can to care for, make thoughtful choices, and live lightly on the planet. When I was in school I really struggled to justify my desire to live as a person who makes things, often luxury things, in a world that is already stuffed to bursting with things. But a thingmaker is what and who I am, that is the flavor of being I was born as; even as a tiny child that was what I did...

"Let the beauty you love be what you do.
There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."
~ Rumi