Friday, January 25, 2008

one egg - well chilled

I went out this morning to feed the hens, and swap the frozen waterer for the thawed one from in the house. During this current cold snap, the hen water freezes overnight. Indeed, my water barrels have frozen overflow hoses, and when driving home from Hillsboro yesterday the icicles on the hillsides along near Linnton were spectacular...some were at least 5 or six feet long and sharp! all sparkley! But I digress...

Looking in the nest box, I found the first egg of the season. Yay HennyPenny! She has been looking quite perky, with really yellow feet and a really red comb, but I wasn't expecting any eggs till maybe next month. Henrietta molted several months ago, and has most of her feathers back, but it is obvious where some are still growng in, and she still has a pale comb and pale yellow feet, so it will be a while before they are both laying. I wonder if this year they will get back to the two eggs a day I was getting last year. (Chicken literature says that as they age, they lay bigger eggs, but not as frequently)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

not Ladies-Who-Lunch ... but rather Wenches-Who-Wrench

Last week I successfully completed putting in a temporary sink, thereby returning the Acorn Cottage bathroom to the full complement of fixtures that were there when I moved in. The components for this project were all either salvage from The Rebuilding Center or from my demolition last year, (except for the new drain-pipes and supply hoses).
Somehow I always end up doing things that are not quite covered in my library of DIY books. Time-Life explains how to hook up the sink, but the building of the support structure was my "c-for-creative" imaginative construct. Though not pretty, it seems sturdy enough. I "tiled" around the edges with some scraps of the vinyl bathroom tiles that I'd found in the attic when I moved here. The backsplash is a scrap of plexiglass, to protect the funky wiring from water, but to allow the nightlight function… the outlet box needs to be safely relocated next to, rather than behind, the sink. Since there will eventually be a different beautiful handmade sink and decorative forged iron support bracket structure, it just did not make sense to carefully repair the sheetrock, only to tear it out again in the next year or so.

in process sink installation

completed temporary sink
Now that there IS a sink in the bathroom, the project at the top of the queue is completing the west wall in the workroom. The 1x6 baseboard is painted and attached; the new C-clamps did make a huge difference in sawing out the pieces.

(the 6" wide baseboard covers all the rough edges left from the demolition)

Now I need to liberate the shelves that are currently nightstands in the bedroom, to move them to their permanent home as part of the "storage wall of crafty goodness". There were some 1 x 12 boards on sale at Mr Plywood last week, if they are still there, additional shelves will be fabricated…I hope that by the end of the coming weekend there will be substantial progress on this oh-so-necessary task; once the boxes of art and craft supplies are not cluttering the workroom, I can start actually using the room for my own creative endeavors, and most importantly, for teaching.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

this is your reminder message...

Craft-tea-party at Acorn Cottage tomorrow 1 Pm till whenever...
Friends welcome...there will be tasty snacks...and either bring a project, or come do collage, or just visit and chat...
The parental visitation went very well, and they are safely delivered to PDX to travel on to my sister.
I have a new temporary bathroom sink, didn't get it completely put together and set up before the parents arrived, but they seemed both amused and amazed at my creative adaptation of components, and hereto unknown plumbing abilities. And the there is now a shiny new Ikea bathroom mirror and shelf above the temporary sink (thanks Mom and Dad). I have visions of doing a mosaic surrounding the mirror, once the electrical wierdness has been sorted out...
Made orange marmalade this week; New Seasons finally got some organic Seville oranges. Unfortunately, whilst doing the canning of said marmalade, my gorram stove decided that the funky (and only) large burner would stop working. Managed to balance the canning kettle on the small burner, but that wasn't easy. I will need to replace the stove at some unspecified point in the future, as it is not cost effective to spend over $200 on parts, and an unknown amount of effortful labor on my part to repair a stove I do not love anyway.
But the marmalade came out yummy nonetheless...
We now return you to our regularly scheduled life, I'm off to get ingredients for pound cake for tomorrow...

Saturday, January 12, 2008

I am the boss of all these tools!

Last night, after yesterdays post, I decided that I need to make another amulet. (Like when I was nervous about teaching, and created something that reminded me I was actually good at it.) I need to make something that reminds me that I CAN build things - (I mean big things, like what need a hammer and suchlike, I don't have such troubles with teeny tiny metalwork, at least not as much!) So I'm going to be mulling over in the next chunk of time what a "handy-girl" amulet might be made of

Friday, January 11, 2008

already in progress... (random notes)

The sun is returning, slowly, to be sure, but the last few days there has been enough sun to recharge my solar lanterns. When I come home just at dusk, there is this feeble but welcome glow near the front door. My camera makes the lanterns look much brighter than they look in real life, and the lantern light doesn't last very long. Yet.

Earlier this week, the maple tree next door looked rather like an apple tree. When I walked out in the morning to walk Smokey, the maple tree was absolutely loaded with robins. There must have been over thirty, and the combined effect of all the fluffed-up red-breasted birds made the tree look like it was some kind of fruit tree without leaves. I actually did a bit of a doubletake, peripheral vision scan says something is odd... I don't know much about birds, maybe they were on migration, or maybe just a tour of great yards in Portland

Yesterday the dread rhinovirus got my head in its jaws...yup, I seem to have succumbed to the cold that is making the rounds. I came home from work and slept for twelve hours through. Even the dog couldn't wake me. Needed that sleep, I guess. Many very peculiar dreams, including one about adopting two very sweet cats, and one about making deep fried mini-empenadas with Mila. I'm tempted to make a rhinoviral winter hat, if I can find my grey velveteen. All grey and wrinkley with floppy ears and tiny eyes and a rhinohorn. Maybe the lack of oxygen has scrambled my brain, but I find the idea weirdly amusing. Of course I have several actual sewing work projects to complete first.

The grey brocade coat project is done, fur trim attached, and was picked up last night. Now I'm getting started on the two-tone roman shade project for the child's room in SW. I'd like to finish that project before parental arrival on Monday.

Of course, I'd also like to finish the "kludge a temporary sink" project. I finally have a concept of how to mount the sink to the wall with narrow shelf brackets, and how to attach the various sink parts together. Now if I can only manage to build the framework this weekend! It seems like every time I need to do the measure and saw and build "carpentry" type project, it takes an enormous mental effort on my part to begin. Once I get started, it is slow and steady progress, but I wish that I didn't have this hesitation each time. Some of it is that I am completely self-taught, so it does take quite a bit of time for me to figure out how to do something. And some of it comes from the time I was raised in. Girls were taught sewing and cooking in school, boys were taught wood and metal shop. Since I already knew the girl stuff (thank you Mom!) I would have dearly loved to learn the power tool stuff. So... decades of experience bossing fabric around, and nowhere near enough with the wood and plumbing and electrical. (yet) Hi ho hi ho....

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

looking backward whilst moving forward...

New Years Eve at Acorn Cottage, the neighbors outdid themselves with fireworks this year. I rather enjoy the colorful symbolic gesture, but try to convince her own darling self Smokey that an hour of loud explosions is not a problem, no way! The poor Akita girl was a shuddering unhappy pup, didn't find the regular bedtime routine at all reassuring, and just stood leaning against the bed and shivered quietly but persistently until all the noise stopped. She did not grow up with fireworks, at Mud Bay the primary neighbors are cows, and Portland is waay more fireworks-mad than anywhere I've ever lived.

Spent part of the first day of 2008 thinking about the previous year, my accomplishments and difficulties...
Could sum up the overall feeling by saying that 2006, the year I moved to Acorn Cottage, was kind of a honeymoon year all starry-eyed wow, I've got a home, and 2007 was the year that I began adjusting to the actual life I have now, a life fundamentally very different than any of my previous adult lives

Every year I make a long list of all the positive changes, could post 2007 here but haven't transfered them to electronica yet

The personal things that I'm feeling best about for last year...
Being brave and making new friends.
Teaching three weekend long enameling workshops.
Being part of the artist-demos at Art In The Pearl.
Doing all the interior window trim in my workroom.

oh yeah,
and finally actually doing the whole blog-journal thing

and aspirations for the year to come...
I'd like to teach workshops here in Portland
I'd like to get my workroom functional (repaired and put together )
I'd like to take some time each month for fun
I'd like to take better care of the body I live in
I'd like to continue being bravely social