Friday, April 16, 2021

dry bones - day 35 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine restarts a project...

in the before times, one of my SCA goals was to create plausible contents of a Viking Age sewing kit*. Since deciding to participate in Athenaeum later this year, I want to make some new artifacts, and get back to doing a bit more research
These are Viking Age style threadwinders, based on finds from Birka (8 - 10th c). The two originals are made from antler slabs; as I do not have antler slabs on hand to work with, these are made of cow bone, but actual dimensions. Bone is easy to work with hand tools, as long as you take careful precautions to not inhale the fine dust created when sawing/filing/drilling etc. Once I did the rough cutting to shape, I switched to using my alundum hand grinding stones used under running water, for my lungs safety sake. While alundum is a modern compostite of aluminum oxide, in the Viking Age, sandstone and other abrasive rocks were available (whetstone pendants have been found) though I do not know if they were used in shaping bone and antler.

Here is an image of the larger of the two threadwinders from Birka:

Links to the museum website pages with the originals: small thread winder and large thread winder
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 two bone Viking threadwinders
x bag of old fur
8 x x yard waste bin
9 x x recycle bin
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Back in 2017, in the Before Times, my friend Drusa made me this exquisite Scandinavian style workbox, which while it isn't exactly the type made in Viking times, is too precious to me to leave sitting on a shelf. Objects of beauty are made to be used...
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To be of use - by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.


I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.


I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.


The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

little bit further than you gone before - day 34 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine makes another bit of progress...

Today started off most excellently, with a package in the mailbox that was an unexpected treat. I then managed to go out for a walk before breakfast, if only about a mile. Might go for another walk after dinner, it is crazy warm and sunny here! (why did I not get sunglasses last year when I ordered new spex?) Thursday afternoons K and I connect via video and focus on declutter or other challenges, so much easier with someone else "there"; today I cleared the mess from my workbench, either putting things away, or finding better ways to store things. It now looks inviting rather than dreadful. I have an idea of making a sawblade holder for the benchtop, that will allow for labeled sections for each different fineness of tooth. Every small improvement makes a big difference.
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~ creativity challenge ~
Tuesday night was a Caid College of Scribes class on drolleries in the Luttrell Psalter, and we practiced both copying examples, and creating our own combinations... it was fun! Today I spent an hour or so in the middle of the day watching a presentation on Manuscript Crafts put on by "The Háskóli Íslands Student Conference on the Medieval North: A student-organized conference intended as an interdisciplinary forum for students of Old Norse and medieval Scandinavia." Learned some new things about pigment availability, and some additional details about bookbinding. Hoping to learn more in the future about Carolingian style calligraphy.
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at the very end of 2020 I did some pattern hacking to my TNT knit top pattern. Adding a turtleneck option was very successful, as most of the time when wearing a long sleeve knit top, extra warmth is the idea. Adding "thumbhole cuffs" turned out to be a less desirable hack, as it turns out that for me my handknit mitts are preferable to the longer integral thumbhole cuffs, which I find are somewhat awkward to wiggle out of for hand washing, and which look quite odd when folded back. Since I dearly love my mushroom print tops, I decided to remove the offending portion, which left the cuffs narrow but acceptable. Cut off the thumbhole edge, leaving the cuffs as long as possible (1¼"), basted the raw edges inside on the outer and inner layers, basted them together, and then hand stitched in an overcast as close to the edge as possible, Alabama Chanin style. It was relaxing handwork during an evening Zoom meeting, and the knit top is much more pleasant to wear now.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
there are a few outliers in the assorted springtime flowers in the front border. The only tulip, and a red that clashes with everything else in the yard, but I cannot bring myself to remove it. Some Queen of the Night tulips, in almost black, would look quite splendid with the hyacinths and violets... perhaps the red tulip could get relocated to the front corner planting, and given a few colorful friends to add delight to the sidewalk passers-by
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 x x bag of old fur
8 x x -
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - a care package arrived today from my Mud Bay pals: an assortment of Japanese stationery stickers, a lovely little notebook with three different kinds of paper inside, and a card from Kestrel, decorated with Totoro stickers. There is little that I love more than I love kid art.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

gathering - day 33 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine takes a baby step towards the opposite of feral...

today I woke up with an actual positive task in mind... creating a private outdoor biffy spot behind my carport next to the back door to Acorn Cottage. That spot is already fairly screened from view, and once there were taut paracord lines tied in, or closet rod wedged between the downspout and the fence, I was able to use various fabric pieces as "curtains" and enclosed a space actually larger than the indoor bathroom here. I hung some toilet paper from the back of the potting bench, put out some hand sanitiser, and added a wastepaper basket, which covered everything except the actual commode. My good friend Ursel had acquired an extra "luggable loo" and once that arrived, now there is a safe and socially distant spot for friends to deal with bio breaks!

This plan had been in the works for quite a while, but it has been much too cold and rainy for any sort of extended outdoor visiting. Today though, was very warm and sunny, and Ursel, Gersvinda, and Claire all converged in my front yard for a wonderful outdoor social (which we had discussed the possibility of at the most recent online Saturday Shindig) All of us have had at least one vaccination. It was almost like Earth That Was, except for the not-hugging,  the six-foot-or-more distance, and the mask-wearing. (we did remove them briefly for eating of snacks, and for hydration maintenance) While I was still a bit jumpy, it was a good baby step towards being safely around other people.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
It is springtime, and flowers bloom everywhere. Grape hyacinth and wood hyacinth, tulips and pink violets, the last of the forsythia, and todays warmth brought open the first of the quince blossoms. There were honeybees, and bumblebees buzzing loudly around the yard. Sneezing is endemic.
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With the intention of creating larger raised planters for things like growing more tomatoes, it seemed like a useful idea to convert at least one of the currently unused blue 55 gallon barrels. A sharpie marking the halfway point, Claire then used her special oscillating saw to cut through the plastic. Hooray for power tools! Then I remembered I had a hole saw set, which seemed like just the right thing to add drainage holes to the bottom. While I'd never used a hole saw before, it was not too difficult to figure out how to set it up, and it worked a charm.

There are now two 27 gallon planters which need filled with garden soil and compost, and will add substantially to the growing space in the back yard. My hope is to grow additional tomatoes this year, and some cucumbers, to restart the salad table, and to put the Patio Baby eggplant somewhere I can keep an eye on it... The baby nightshades had an excursion outside today, as it was really warm, and I figured that the increased light and warmth would do them good.
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
x bag of fabric
7 x x bag of old fur
8 x x -
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - a gathering of four friends, nearly normal... and so very grateful for Claire's help with the barrel to planter project today