Wednesday, November 28, 2007

the shameless commerce division...

I am doing my best not to panic. Many things are completed, but not everything. I was hoping to do rosemary wreaths, but... not this year, I guess. The bulletin boards are done. The collage mirrors are done. I need to find the jewelry backstock, 'specially the mistletoe earrings. I need to figure out some clever display ideas.

And oh, I need to remind folks that might be interested that our holiday sale is this weekend: do come to the ManyHands Studio Market, there will be lots of fun artist-made creations.

When: Friday November 30 - 9 to 6
and Saturday December 1 - 9 to 6

Where: 13355 SW Rita Drive, Beaverton OR 97005

Mapquest map

Now off to do waay too much for the rest of today

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

more manyhands busyness

Sometimes it feels like all I do is work. Our holiday market event is just about two weeks away. I've been busy every evening making more tidbits; about half the items on my "hopeful-to-do" list are now colorful reality.
These little pincushions are known on-line as "biscornu" ("that which has irregular form, with projections" or "complicated and bizarre") I like that.
All work and no play makes Alison a dull girl. Inspired by some decorative sewing pins I saw out in blog-land I decided some playtime with colored pencil and shrinky-plastic would be fun. A quick trip to Collage over on Alberta (I like having an art stuff store fairly nearby that isn't a big box store), and I came home with a package of "Polyshrinktm - artists grade shrink plastic" made by "Lucky Squirrel" (is it only me that finds these names peculiar?, our heroine wonders to herself) Having never before experimented with "shrinkydinks" my first attempt came out waaay too tiny, but on the second try, I made these three little pins… (which you can actually see in the previous picture too). They're about 1/4" wide, a nice size, if a bit difficult to get my camera to focus down on.
I've been bustling about getting the house picked up before the assessor inspection yesterday, so Acorn Cottage is relatively tidy, with lots more stuff piled in the workroom. I did find a whole carton of outdated catalogs mislabeled as "useful books" (well, they were useful once, but now are merely recycling), but most of the boxes will need to be actually sorted and organised. It does look like there will be room for everything once the storage shelf wall is built, 'specially if I do something similar in the future sewing-guest-computer room, and it is obvious that I need to come up with some good way to store the wood bits (molding and lumber and wood, oh my!) that I seem to be accumulating.
Since the house is more accessible, with the boxes consolidated, I'd like to do more social things here. I'm thinking of having Monday night be open-house-drop-in project night, since I am usually home working on one project or another anyhow. And I'm also thinking about starting up the (formerly Not-Just-For-Sewingtm) once a month tea party, on the third Saturday of the month. Feedback anyone?...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

pink & happy : young & spicy

No, not what you might be thinking...but I scored a bunch of young ginger at Uwajimaya. Now I can attempt homemade pickled sushi ginger, with the last bits of the purple shiso which is still hanging on in my herb planter. I found a recipie which looks fairly simple, and so in addition to spending the weekend making various things for the studio sale, I'll be experimenting with steeping shiso leaves in rice vinegar. The pink color traditionally comes from shiso, rather than Red dye #??

Monday, November 12, 2007

hidden treasure

The promise of wind and rain encouraged me to clear away some of the detritus that collects on the platform/deck in front of Acorn Cottage. Leftover plastic plant pots, stakes from early garden peas, and a healthy dusting of leaves. Not to mention the giant blue tote box, in which plants came down here this spring from my friend Sharon's garden (the only one that seems to have made the transition at all well is the Michaelmas daisy which got planted in the parking strip, though I have slight hopes that some of the Clerodendrum may yet surprise me…)
Amidst all this, I found a spindly cherry tomato plant, wedged between larger pots; I had somehow forgotten to plant it with the others in the backyard this summer. The nearby planters and south facing exposure obviously protected it, so I present for your visual enjoyment :

the last tomato!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

inspired by ikeahacker

Current organizing theory (for the home, rather than the political world) suggests having a place to recycle unwanted paper trash close to where it enters your house is a good idea. (To help prevent the "oh-I'll-just-set-it-down-and-deal-with-it-later" syndrome.) Those of you who have actually visited Acorn Cottage know that this is not a big house, and that the front door opens directly into the living room. For a while I had a tall covered wastebasket in the living room, near the door. This, while effective, did not give a very welcoming impression, and it was probably very bad feng shui. I was inspired after discovering the ikeahacker website, to create a little ikea-hack of my own… The kitchen is on one side of the front door, and there was space just inside the kitchen doorway for this tidy trash and recycling center. The hacking part was more like sawing, as one of my Ikea cutting boards was re-sized to become the shelf (aligned with the adjacent wire shelving) that supports the smaller wastebasket. Now junk mail can immediately be recycled upon entry; and having the debris "trashcan" available without opening a cupboard I find very handy. (it must be working as far as unobtrusive, since some guests have had to ask where the kitchen trash is...)

The rest of the weekend will be mostly devoted to finishing the eight-linen-curtains job (re-sizing and trimming with green ribbon), which is due next week. Hopefullly also completing the full size drawings for the roman shade project. Maybe a bit of yard work, I'd like to get some of the cover crop seeds sown, and if it gets dry enough the yard needs raked...

Thursday, November 8, 2007

tiny acorn goodness

The garlic is planted…hooray! And it looks like today will be another dry day, so if there is time between all the myriad bits of busyness scheduled for today, I will try and get the walking onions planted too…(time for another stop at Starbucks for a bag of free coffee grounds)

Yesterday I ended up spending waaay too much time waiting for Les Schwab to put new tires on Nimblefoots front wheels. Fortunately I brought not only the book I was reading, but the little basket of portable handwork, since it was over three hours sitting and waiting. I had lots of time to stitch ten little acorn caps out of bronze-green hand dyed wool felt, and later that evening I finished the emery acorns for the ManyHands studio sale.

(I was very excited to find an online source for real emery, since I had been looking for several years…the last "emery" strawberry I purchased had sand ! inside.) The emery gives the acorns a nice solidity and unexpected heft for their size, they are about two inches long. I feel compelled to keep one for my own sewing basket… An oak leaf needlebook would make a good companion piece, maybe if I end up with enough time before the sale, I'll see if I can design something appropriate…

Much sewing will be happening here at Acorn Cottage. Mostly working on the various window treatment projects. I often wish that my sewing machine actually sewed faster. I actually wore out the first original foot pedal set, because I spend so much time with the poor thing "pedal-to-the-metal". If I end up with extra time, ha ha, I will try and cut out some clothing for me, as the wardrobe situation is not improving.

Sewing modern clothing for myself is just not fun or interesting, which may be why I have a much better SCA wardrobe than I do of modern clothing. I really need another five or six jumpers, and the same for shirts would be really helpful as well. If I could buy off-the-rack clothing in the shops, that came near to fitting me, that would make life easier; but being a short round woman, who likes to wear dresses, the shops do not deliver; sewing is necessary. That is just the reality of it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

a bit of graphic design

Yesterday I finished working on the flyer for our holiday sale. While using the computer as a typesetting machine is not as efficient as an actual publishing program, it does a tidier job than I can, since I am not a calligrapher. I'm rather happy with how the border drawings look, though. And, I found a way to get my scanner to work, after a fashion, so I can share with you the results of my efforts with you.

As always it is on to the next project(s). I need to do the design work for the ManyHands website, (fortunately I do not need to do all the coding!) and I have several large sewing jobs to complete. When I lived in the house at Mud Bay, we had several of the 8 foot formica covered banquet tables, which made big projects easier to lay out and work on. If curtains and window shades continue to be what folks want to hire me to sew, I ought to get a sheet of plywood to make a temporary big tabletop….

Monday, November 5, 2007

Where have all the bay nuts gone? long time passing...

I loves little Acorn Cottage, but sometimes I am very frustrated by the left-behind mis-repaired fewmets of the previous owners… When we last saw our plucky heroine, she was clapping her tiny hands with glee, for the washing machine had returned from its long vacation under the carport.

(Somehow, in the last few months, she had forgotten what a piece of crap the washer really is) While the appliance does actually wash clothing, it only functions when set on extra-big-load, which uses the maximum amount of water possible. When set on any lower setting, it somehow cleverly splashes lots of water out from under the lid to the washing compartment. There is absolutely no information in any of my trusty fixit guidebooks that cover this scenario. And despite my best efforts to adjust the damnthing, it has an amazingly loud whump-whump of a spin cycle. It chattered the locking casters on its new platform round and about, and skitters sideways when the cycle shuts down. Maybe if I can roll the platform onto some of the spare foam mat, it will stop dancing across the floor?

The good news is that all the new hoses that I attached to "Mr Noisy-spin" held up quite well, no leaking there. I am always pleased when I can replace or repair something and it actually fixes it. The bad news is that the old faucets, that deliver hot and cold water to the washer, seem to have degraded, while the washer was on vacation. The cold faucet, which I capped when I couldn't it get to turn off properly after the demolition, seems to be working just fine when attached to the washer. The hot water faucet however, which shut off nicely months ago, when activated, is now leaking from around the handle. (note: after leaving the tap shut back down overnight the leak seems to have stopped, unless the tap is opened again) While the usual setting for the wash cycle is cold/cold, it would be nice to have the option to wash with warm or hot water for the occasional things that want such treatment; but I can't have a leaky hot water tap dripping, or "there will be no money in what is called the till…" (extra points to anyone who identifies the quote).

Ugh! and harrumph! Soooo…I will probably have to replace these faucets also. At least there is no sheetrock to remove, everything is just out there in the open along the east wall of the workroom, and the washer and dryer can just be rolled out of the way…

I would dearly love a shiny frontloader, which would use about a third of the water, and a lot less electricity as well. Maybe someday…which is not to say that I am not grateful to have a washer, and a home to keep it in, I'd just like something that was a little bit more earth-friendly...
It seems that the current phase in sewing-work-land is window coverings. I have two different projects in the works, and a consult over in SW next week. Can't complain, work is good…
Having finished the computer part, I'm now doing the decorative drawing on the flyer for our holiday studio sale; hope to have the master copies ready by tomorrow evening. While this all would be easier with the correct software, and a scanner and a printer that were functional, I can manage it the old fashioned way, and my local copy shop is only about a mile or two down Lombard. (For those who are interested, the sale will be on November 30th and December1st. More info soon, hoping for pictures and a website too.)
Later today, I must plant the garlic and the walking onions…who knows when we will have another nice afternoon. I did take a big chunk of the weekend off to do some recreational window shopping, and browsed the goodies over at Powells on Hawthorne. Hence the busy day today... remember…"we lead full and interesting lives… by choice"
No, I'm not talking about some odd coastal or oceanic cult, but the little nuts that fall from the myrtlewood, (aka pepperwood, California laurel) trees. The larger trees, a relative of the avocado, produces many small nuts in the autumn. The nuts fall from the tree, encased in green seed coat with a thinner or thicker fleshy layer covering the actual seed. this is where the resemblance to the avocado is most obvious. Last year, I was able to scavenge many of these nuts, enough to almost fill a 5 gallon jar after husking and heat treating them. This year I picked up a few, at the beginning of October, but there haven't been many more. Oh there are a few nuts under the biggest tree in my neighborhood, but they need to be gathered when freshly fallen in order to be good to eat after the necessary processing. I'd hoped to put some away for gifties and trade goods for those of my friends who like them... they end up tasting a bit like espresso beans, and you don't want to eat more than a few at any one time, as they are also a stimulant.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

further progress on the workroom front

The washer is now back inside the house, and waiting to be hooked back up. I'm going to replace all hoses and such-like, since now that the machine is on its very own wheelie-cart, it will be easy to do. I'm hoping that the locking casters will prevent any spin-cycle-rhumba; it would be alarming to have the washer start dancing its way across the workroom. I intend to stay close by when I first try out this new arrangement !

The bathroom sink valves have been replaced as well. Chance was correct, I was amazed at how easy it was, but nonetheless, it was good to have someone who knew what they were doing to show me. (and he even gave me a giant plumbing wrench to keep my mother-of-of-all-slip-joint-plieres company) So at some point a bathroom sink can happen. It will probably be a temporary version, (until the wonderful copper and forged iron one materialises, which will take some design work on my part, and sewing in trade for my smithcrafty friends)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

the further adventures of window-trim girl

I'm not a carpenter, I don't even play one on TV... nonetheless, the trim on the north windows in the workroom is done. At least for now. (did you know... that if you don't want to buy a gallon of "stain-killer" shellac/paint to cover up an egg-sized patch of weird magenta pigment on the recycled wood that you are using for window trim bits, you can buy a 99 cent bottle of white nail polish, and it will work just wonderfully. yup, two coats of nail polish, and it is all good... what do you think, should I send the tip in to Fine Homebuilding? Ha Ha!) Later on I can do some of the more elaborate surrounding woodwork, and the chalkboard of my dreams...but right now I am feeling very eager to have the workroom morph into an actually usable space, with crafty supplies actually findable.

I decided that I would turn the north wall into a collage wall for the winter, I don't really want to do a lot of wall painting, even with zero-voc paint, until keeping the windows open for a couple of hours feels nice rather than shivery. So I've been having fun looking through my various bits and files of cut-out magazine pictures, and old posters, and such-like. The oldest thing I found was an old poster from a Barnsdall Park (community art center) film-making workshop I went to when I was in junior high, back in Los Angeles in the sixties.

Phase number next is to re-locate all the boxes and bags and bins and bits of crafty goodness into the workroom. I figure that if I stack everything along one wall, It will give me a better idea of how much stowage I will need. And by keeping it all to one wall, I can still start using the worktables.

I need need need to get the washing machine inside. I've borrowed an appliance moving contraption, like a handcart with straps, to shift it from the carport, but I need a warm body or two to help steady everything, and keep the wheely-platform from scooting away during the transfer. Hopefully this will all work out in the next day or two... maybe tomorrow, when my friend Chance is coming over to help me replace the valves under the former and only, currently non-existent bathroom sink. (another story of the former owners and their fondness for the use of putty as an innapropriate construction material...)

So once my laundry is finished up over here at Chris's house, I'm heading off to the hardware store to get two shut-off valves for tomorrows "Adventure in Plumbing"...