Monday, May 21, 2007

All in all, crazed but busy

It has been a busy weekend here at Acorn Cottage. Mindy and Bill, friends from up in Burien, came to visit. I am Mindy's "seamstress on retainer" (she sends me money, I sew clothing and mail it to her) We started this arrangement last year, with a pattern for drawstring pants. She was wanting a summer dress/jumper as in the Shapely Viking Apron Dress/a Jumper for the Rest of Us, and hence the visit. They hadn't yet seen Acorn Cottage, or the chickens, and got the fifty cent tour right away. Lots of good conversation and catching-up, and a tasty dinner out at Ya Hala. I was able to generate a quick dress mock-up, using fabric from an Ikea quiltcover from Goodwill, that Mindy liked so much we are planning on finishing it as an actual summer sundress. Smokey was in seventh heaven, as she got lots of wrassling and toss the dog toy with Mindy's Bill while we girls were doing sewing stuff.

Once they left for parts Northward on Sunday, I was able to get some more of the baby plant starts from last weekend into the ground. Between the starts from Growing Gardens, the heirloom veggies from my visit to the menagery in OlyWa, random plants from my old friend Sharon, and the flat of cosmos from a neighbor up the block, my front deck is covered with vegetative infants. Well, actually, now it is half covered...

Once it got too dark to play in the dirt, I went inside and continued working on the projects I'm doing for Vikki

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

more Scythian horse

As I'd promised, here are more pictures:

Once enough layers of enamel are built up, the irregular surface needs to be ground smooth. Here you can see the beginning of the process, which I find the most tedious part of enameling. The grinding is usually done with a white aluminum oxide stick, by hand, under cold running water.

and here it is further ground down, almost ready for firing

After the first "flash-firing", there are often small areas that need a bit of extra enamel to bring it all up to an even surface. This is preferable to grinding down too far, and maybe losing some of the carefully applied shading.

And here is the piece, ready to have a suitable setting made for it...

Just in case you wondered where I do this kind of work, here is a picture of my kiln (nicknamed "Mr Hot" by my friend Heather when she was about 9 years old), and a bit of one of my workspaces, much less messy than usual

I have been doing other things as well, working, starting to get the veggie space up and happening, and also just finished this small shelf unit to store my enamel powder. It will hang on the wall in the workroom, once that room has been "improved". (I am still moving things out of said workroom, preparatory to carpet removal and window installation), which hopefully will happen in the next few months. I had fun making this, used an old drawer from the Rebuilding Center and various bits of scrap.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Scythian horse enamel

I've been working on a pendant commission, and thought I'd post a few pictures of the in-process... It is a variation on the Scythian Horse that I made a few years ago, only much smaller, with a slightly different setting

Here is the start, bending the wires to create the outlines of the design

And here you see the all the wires for the design

The first several firings locate the wires on the backing

Then more enamel powder gets added

and the colored design is gradually built up

There are many more steps in the process before the enamel is finished and ready to be set as part of the pendant

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Midweek musings

My car is home again! The starter was what had died, and since I have over 200thousand miles on the car, I can't complain too much. And while the mechanic wasn't able to keep the cost of the repair as low as I'd hoped, he very kindly let me pay $200 and take Nimblefoot home, with the understanding that I would pay the balance in the next two weeks. Hooray for independent business folk. They will get a package of homemade cookies along with my money.

My potluck contribution for last night was rather successful, I made a chocolate sponge cake (with whipped cream and homemade raspberry syrup) There was nothing left to take home, which is actually a good thing, as I am quite round enough without having leftover cake lying about the kitchen. I tried out a new recipe, which I had found in the blog twelve22. There are two cool things about the recipe: it is proportional based on how many eggs you use, which means that you can make a quite small cake if desired; and it is all based on weight, you start by weighing the egg, or eggs in the shell, and add equal amounts of flour sugar and butter, as well as a bit of other things
Here is the original post chocolate cake recipe . I made the cake with two eggs, and added a bit of almond extract as well as the vanilla, since I rather like the combination of the two, somewhat reminiscent of Shrewsbury cakes.

I'd best head home and check to see if the incredible hailstorm has left anything standing in my garden bed of baby peas...