Tuesday, November 29, 2011

tiny Tuesday tidbits

Plum sauce is canned, seven 4oz jars in the pantry. It did come out kinda thick and dark this time, and maybe needs a bit more ginger, more like a sauce base this time. I mixed some with the leftover cranberry sauce from T-day, was a good condiment for the last of the T-day turkey scraps.

I have been referred to a new doctor, who is also a rockstar. This somehow tickles my sense of whimsy, while also reminding me inevitably of the beginning of Buckaroo Banzai. Seriously, NewDoc is in a band, all six of whom are gynecologic oncologists...

this a trailer, for a documentary in progress, about the band N.E.D.

Not a lot of work happening yet on the sewing front, but design ideas are taking form in the back corners of my mind, I can feel them gestating. Subtle new embellishments, and various bits of patternmaking will be there when once I have a few hours of free time to rub together. Maybe some more sketches soon....

dog is on watch

a snakes-hand: micro-winter-whimsy

...well, lets not talk about how hard it was to get to sleep last night, or just perzactly what kind of dreamnightmareland I visited... Truth is I did wake again, to this world where so many friends-n-family love me, with the tasks ahead of me still to do, the hoops still there, and the blessing of actually having a modicum of medical care...

just a a wee bit of counterweight, here are some pictures of one of the current projects... We are planning on a holiday gift sale on December 11th, and I have done little to prepare for it. Indeed, have done little studio work at all in the last few weeks. My way of easing back in touch with my thingmaker self is often felt or stitchy-craft, and the idea for these pincushions was sparked by the lovely "TinyWorlds" that Mimi Kirchner makes. She even sells a pattern so folks can make their own, and teaches workshops at her home studio in Arlington MA. Her pincushions are incredibly detailed, and she uses all sorts of vintage teacups as a base...

Well, the only two vintage teacups here are well loved gifts from dear friends, but I did have a set of pretty egg cups, which are never used, since soft-boiled eggses are sooo not Fjorlief-food. They just seemed to ask to be made into little winter-worlds, and have turned out just the right kind of whimsical thing to sit on a sewing table, to be convenient. I've not yet finished sewing on the snowy "caps" to all the trees yet, and was amused by the progression from no snow, to all snow-covered...

with permission, I shall be offering these for sale next month

Monday, November 28, 2011

where is that spoon...

in which our plucky heroine is the recipient of bad news...

I am not real happy right now, got test results back this afternoon, not what I'd hoped for. Kinda in shock, kinda resigned, kinda upset, kinda distracted. Tonight I lost my key ring with the keys to the house on it, between leaving the house to go cat-sit, and getting off the bus coming home. It was dark, and cold, and all the spare keys to Acorn Cottage are with various folks that live in other states. So I decided to backtrack my steps, and amazingly found the keys about a block off Lombard, in the street, about five miles from home. Yay for small miracles!

Now I get more hoops for jumping through, and an unknown different doctor, and a bunch more medical/surgical foo. I figured that the results were not good, when instead of a cheery call saying "all is well, see you at the post-surgery checkup in a week and a half", I got a message to call the doctor's office... and when I did, I sat on hold for over an hour... I think they forgot I was there.... then I finally talked with Dr D. She is a good doctor, and a pretty good communicator. (I hope that whoever I get sent to is not only a good doctor, but will be able to look me in the eyes and speak in a way I can comprehend, and will hear my concerns)

I guess it is good, that they did not find actual cancer cells, though I am aware that there is a broad continuum from normal and healthy, to obviously wrong, and my cells, at least the ones they looked at, are only kinda pretty badly messed up... (The big words are "complex hyperplasia with atypia" for those who know what that actually means) The recommendation is for a hysterectomy. I will know more once I talk to the new doctor, the gyno-oncologist...

This story of mine is starting to feel a bit like quicksand, that the further things go, the deeper and more dangerous it becomes, and the harder to get back to my nice safe regularly scheduled life.

Hopefully in a few days I will have regained some semblance of equanimity...

a reminder to self, that beyond the fog of unknown future,
lie the hills of home and the light of the morning

dog is awake
with hackles up

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday snippets

Last night was an unexpected visit from B & K, some of my Olympia pals. The evening light was just turning that amazing Maxfield Parrish blue, as the streetlights and treelights were coming on...

Stood in the middle of the crosswalk to get this picture; reminds me a lot of the scene in Spirited Away, where Chihiro is running down through the town to try and get back to the known world, and all the lights come up as the sun goes down.

We met at Button Emporium, (they wanted to get hair ribbons for the kiddo), and then had dinner at Sushi Ichiban. We exchanged early wintertime holiday gifts too; their tin of home-dried fruit just might become part of a 12th Night fruitcake...

damnfool hens... last night went out to put them to bed, which involves shutting the weighted door to their house, to keep them safe all through the dark, 'till I open the door in the morning and they can roam the half-backyard that is their domain. As I've done ever since the time that Stupid Hen decided to not go to bed one night, I untoggled the back doors to "count beaks". WTF! there were NO hens in there!

A quick lookaround did not show any huge piles of feathers in the yard, which was good, but where were the speckldy sisters... Mind you, it is cold and dark and spitting drizzle, and the girls are moulting, so have large gaps in their feathers. Yay for tinybright LED flashlight, I found two hens by the edge of the leafmulch compost bin, and with much looking, found the third hen wedged between the arbovitae and the edge of the house, under the downspout extension. One at a time, I picked them up and stuffed them back in their house.

They are very odd birds indeed. The only thing I can think is that there might have been a hawk or coon watching the henhouse last night, and they hid themselves rather than head for bed, but usually if there is some predator about, they raise enough of a ruckus that I notice and go outside. Eventually I do want to give them some covered spaces for wintertime, but that involves both building more solid infrastructure, and spending extra dosh, (which is a bit thin on the ground this year, due to extended and unavoidable time spent not working).

Maybe can rig up something with the old sunshade; there is a forecast for gaps in the rain, and it might be possible to reconfigure the fencing to both confine the hens a bit more, and to add some windbreak to their zone. And, if there is a gap in the weather, it might be possible to actually get some of the leaves raked up from the front yard and dumped into the henyard. The years I've managed that, in the old henyard, made a big difference in the condition of the soil, dead leaves combined with hen action really adds condition to the soil, and the current henyard is destined to eventually become garden beds

On the maslin pan debacle*, the score is finally Fjorlief 1 - Carbon 0, but it was a very close call indeed. Tried: ammonia overnight, boiled with baking soda overnight, oven cleaner overnight TWICE, (all of these one at a time, mind you, there is a level of science experiment that I know better than to try without a fume hood) didn't work, then tried boiling mix of water and Ajax lemon dishes soap, and scraping with spatula while boiling, started to be able to at least scrape some tiny flakes of carbon off... 220 grit wet-or-dry silicon carbide paper, used repeatedly and alternating with more boiling dishes-soap water, seems to have done it, auto-body abrasives plus massive and ongoing application of "elbow grease"...

Still moving slower than usual, but decided to head into downtown to the Art Museum to see the exhibit of Japanese prints (thank you E, for the ticket). 'Twas crowded, and rather overwhelming, but there were in fact some real gems; Hokusai waterfalls, I'm thinking of you... Every time I have been to P.A.M. I enjoy looking at the William Morris "Artifact Wall" (not the William Morris from the Arts and Crafts era, but the contemporary one...) something about the hundreds of mysterious objects pinned to the two-story wall is fascinating.
And I walked through the Native American art rooms, which were basically empty of visitors, despite the splendid objects on display. The way that there is no boundary between made for use and made for beauty, just so, as I try with my ownlife to have that be the choice made, when there is a choice, though the context is different.
Bronze coyote sitting outside is one of my favorites as well...

Here is a short animation of the Android Sisters: Electric Sheep
"when they go blah blah blah, do you go baa baa baa..."

dog is turning around and around,
settling down to sleep

* the night before surgery, while I was rather obsessively filling out advanced directives and writing letters to my nearest and dearest, my sister G was rather obsessively cooking a triple batch of cranberry sauce. What can I say, we each react to stress in our own ways... well, somehow, in the midst of dealing with splashed sauce on the front of her sweater, in just a few minutes the sauce in the pan went from perfect to irretrievably scorched, and left a thick lumpy layer of carbonised sugar and cranberry fused to the bottom of my beloved maslin pan.

I saved for a year to get that pan, and it is not a luxury, is in use every week, almost every day. And I really wanted to find a way to salvage it, rather than just replace it, as sister G offered to do. 'Tis is spendy bit of kitchen hardware after all, and well made. New maslin pans are available from Lee Valley. If you are a tool junky like me, or love hardware, or like to garden, Lee Valley is dangerous. I have been a happy customer of theirs for many years, they often have oddball things that are not easily available otherwise. You have been warned...

Friday, November 25, 2011

Friday fragments

In which our plucky heroine notices the connection between Acorn Cottage and Scarborough Fair...

Yesterday, when I was feeling rather puny, not up to heading out and about for a lot of social time, my most awesome Resiliency Ranger pals S and B decided to come over here to cook... and we had a thanksgiving dinner that couldn't be beat!

Alice's Restaurant was listened to (courtesy of YouTube), yet more sweet corn pancakes were nibbled, cranberry sauce was safely boiled up, and a delectable tiny turkey was baked. Fresh herbs from the front yard made for tasty basting, and in the middle of the day some unknown neighbor girls, all umbrella bedecked, asked S if they could pick some sage. Did you know that the front yard here has "parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme"? There was a lesson in Yankee Piecrust, recipe courtesy of my longago friend C.N., and a flakey-cursted pun'kin pie was dessert, as we gathered round the electronic hearth for an episode of Firefly. All the dishes were washed, and leftover bits from dinner divvied up, including a small portion of mixed veg for the hens today
after the washing-up

We made it happen, despite my wonky knee, despite the fact that the hob here at Acorn Cottage now has only two working burners (the large one stopped working on Tuesday) and despite not having worked in a kitchen together before. Yay us! While my dream home might have an actual fireplace, the warmth of true friends is what really lasts...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

from indark back to the bright world

When last we saw our plucky heroine, she was planning sewing projects; a lot has happened since then...

Sunday was mostly prep for Monday (with a lot or writing of letters and advanced directives), and Monday was about half spent in hospital. If'n you really want to know about what that was like, ask me in person. When disrobing and packing away all my jewelry and talismans, I was reminded of the part of the story of Inanna, where she must remove all her garments and jewelry before entering the underworld...

I will say that it was actually interesting, in that I learned more about how I react to various situations. Am very grateful that I was not required to have sedation in addition to anaesthesia; I much prefer being a bit excessively chatty to being out of it - I was fully conscious up until the operating room, then went down into the dark, coming back up about an hour later.

Coming back was not really like waking from sleep, as some describe it, for I never awaken so totally relaxed; never awaken trying so strongly to be awake while constantly slipping back down into the darkness, was kind of like the opposite of normal awakening. On my usual awakening, I am propelled forward out of dreamland with a strong push, however much I might wish myself back to that land, whereas this was my own strong will pulling me towards the waking world, despite what felt like an intense gravity well of unknowing that would be easy to fall back into.

Grateful grateful to be back in the bright world I am...

Body is recovering well, only real discomfort is the sore throat from the intubation. Spirit/mind is much calmer, that was a big flame-covered hoop to be jumped through, and I did well. Only current hoop is not knowing the pathology results, but I am oddly calmer about that than I was about the anaesthsia. Weird, eh?

Sister left for home last night, after being of great help in the last four days. Yesterday morning I felt well enough to cook breakfast for her, making, rather recursively, Sister Gigi's Sweet Corn Cakes. While I like them with salsa verde, she wanted to try the jalapeno jelly I put up last fall. Tis one of the prettiest jellies in the pantry, and while not very spicy, was actually a perfect condiment for this...

I was feeling well enough by the end of yesterday, and getting a bit of cabin fever, so we headed out. Since the weather outside was intensely windy and dripping cold rain, it seemed appropriate for a little retail therapy - grocery shopping, and then a short trip to nearby Ikea, where we did a bit of information gathering in the kitchen area, since sister is going to repair/renew/remodel her fifty year old mostly wornout kitchen. She also decided to buy me a frame for the futon in the guest room. Having it up off the floor with certainly add to the comfort of the friends and family that sleep over at Acorn Cottage.

Gradually ramping back up to functionality is the story of the rest of the week here. My intention is to combine social time with creative time, and a modicum of "stop now, rest and eat food"... After all, there are workshop projects calling my name, and sewing to be done, clothing to be made, and pals to be visited with.


The Wheel - Jerry Garcia, 1972


dog is dozing,
hoping for ear skritches

Saturday, November 19, 2011


The good...Here is what I've come up with so far... there are actually more than 11 garments here, didn't want to just re-sketch the ones that were the same (two pairs of pants) or really similar (shirts with different necklines or collars), and am not entirely certain what the final SWAP selection will end up being. Since I also plan on sewing the "Winter 6PAC" there is a bit of overlap. The skirts are actually pinafore-jumpers, but will function as skirts. Some of these are patterns that I have had and modified so long ago that I no longer remember what the original pattern started out as, or are patterns copied from extant garments. There is, of course, the Sewing Workshop "Teagarden T". The lower vest will be based on Kwik Sew 2895, which I made up as a jacket in 2005, with some pretty serious modifications. I intend to "cut and paste" the collar from the Sewing Workshop "Fuji Mountain Top"(long OOP) onto an overtunic that will actually have some relation to my shape. And, after seeing Shams amazing "tablecloth skirt" I knew right away that the design had a home in my swap!

the not so good...
The reason that I was able to get my storyboard sketches all drawn and inked, was that I spent a big chunk of the day at Urgent Care, with, in the end, no conclusive results. I am still in pretty intense pain, my left knee/calf is just not functioning properly at all. (the one upside is that I knew there would be a lot of sit-and-wait time, so I took my clipboard and paper and writing sticks and croquis with me, figuring that sketching would be a bit more pleasant than outdated magazines. And it was.

dog is all in a swivet,
barking at anything that moves

Friday, November 18, 2011

looking for an antidote

in which our plucky heroine forcibly shifts focus towards some future activity...

SWAP ideas are gradually taking form, time to get out the croquis and start sketching. Too dark tonight to take pictures of my sketches, that will have to wait till daylight

I intend to use my TNT basic patterns: bias front top/dress, pinafore/jumper, and knit top. I will need to re-fit them, since in the intervening six or seven years I have somehow gotten to be a bit more round, rather than more svelte... But that should not be tooo very difficult, so to give myself a bit of a challenge there, I plan on trying to ring some changes here and there. It would be very interesting to try, for example, to adapt this sleeve treatment to my basic knit top pattern; would give me a nice alternative to always wearing raglan sleeves.

The sort-of-new-this-time pattern will be pants. I have a pattern for bib overalls; for years now they were the only trouser-like garment in my wardrobe. I'd like to convert the pattern to just plain pants. Will be an interesting experiment.

I've no idea where I found this, or how it might be possible to acquire this pattern*: (interesting one-piece vest), which has been in my list of bookmarks for quite a while. Since there are small images of the pattern pieces, I intend to try and generate a pattern for "2A" the vest with the foldover shawl collar. There was an article in Threads a while back (Issue #146) about a similar garment, and a summary of the article is available on their website. There is some extra-large black waffle weave fabric in my stash that would probably work for this.

I'm going to call my pinafore/jumper a skirt. I often wear them in that fashion, in the wintertime when layers are a necessity, and worn with a tunic or overshirt, it looks like I'm wearing a skirt. (After all if Dragon Lady says bib overalls = pants, then it would seem to me that pinafore [could] = skirt) ... And speaking of skirts, Shams has cleverly figured out how to make a fascinating geometrical construct that is the most amazing twirly skirt I've seen. That just might need to be one of my new garments, I can imagine adding that as the bottom half of a pinafore jumper, and I have just the right lightweight plaid wool to do it with too! Whee!

* thank you wonderful hive-mind of SG, Lisanne posted a link to where this pattern can be purchased. (And now I know, the pattern company is from Denmark) I shall still go ahead and generate my own version, since it seems really simple, but looking through their patterns will be inspiring anyway. A lot of the patterns on their site seem to be combinations of garments that all work together, in the same way that SWAP is intended to function... Hmmm....

dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday thoughts and tidbits

Somehow, with all the big wind last night, my dear little apple tree was completely broken off at the base, just below the graft. I am sad. It was only three years old, and had just started to produce apples this year. R.I.P. little Akane. I shall send a message to B, to see if it is possible to take scionwood cuttings from the branches.

Tonight my tasks are to make more progress in the advanced directive workbook, and write some necessary letters. For fun, I'm going to do some quick design sketches for a SWAP storyboard, and then photograph them so as to be able to transfer the images into digital form. Am delighted that V has already posted her sketches and ideas; mustn't be too slow about getting mine up there too!

Wish book came yesterday, the Christmas 2001 gift catalog from Lee Valley. It would be really easy for me to find something useful and desirable on pretty much any page in there, (well probably not the woodturning tools, or the childrens toys, but other than that...) Of course, after the last night, maybe a catalog from One Green World, or Raintree would be welcome.

There was a gap in the wind and rain this morning, so I took advantage and used the time to clear out the henhouse floor, and give the girls fresh wood shavings. They are still moulting! The inside of their house was covered in a layer of feathers, like a tweedy carpet. Hopefully by the time all the new feathers are grown in they will be warm for the winter; I really miss having fresh eggs though. Did a tiny bit more in the backyard, tipped over the composter and moved the framework to the top of the driveway in front. I know, 'tis not on the earth as would be ideal, but is in a very convenient spot for yard debris from the front yard. I would have also moved the smallish heap of remaining compost in the backyard, but it was starting to really rain by then, and our plucky heroine was finding that cranky-knee was really wanting to stop now! Still, it feels really good to make progress, even if it is so slow. There is always more to do than lifetime to do it in...

Actually, the last week my cranky knee has been really degrading in function, to the point of not really wanting to be walked on, waking me up from sleep if I move it, limping when walking... While knees are not only delicate joints, but one of my particular banes, I am also wondering what part of this current flareup is related to my upcoming surgery. I am stubbornly moving forward despite how I feel. Only 3+ days now... Have long known that I store tension about "standing my ground" in the backs of my legs, all kinds of odd stuff comes up if massage therapy manages to loosen anything up there (Oh how I miss getting regular massage, has been years now since that was a part of life, but kept me healthy for a long time). Feels a bit like my strong will is moving forward but my body is saying no. And am not allowed aspirin, due to upcoming surgery; tried acetaminophen but it is not doing much of anything. Really wish that I could shift my feelings to confident acceptance, (anticipation would really be asking too much), but this sense of fatalistic dread is so not helpful. Of course, there could actually be something wrong with my knee, and if it continues at this level of pain after Monday, I intend to get it looked at. Sometimes I feel like a bit like the one-hoss-shay, I hope my warranty is not expired!

But enough with the whinging already... there is still a lot of beauty all around the world. Whilst rambling round, found this most lovely evocative little animated film - take ten minutes and enjoy it...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

wind and rain...

in which our plucky heroine maintains forward momentum...

The wind is howling round the corners of Acorn Cottage tonight, and if there was some way to hook up a generator to the ventilation turbines on the rooftop, there would be power to spare. Gratefully, the forecast for snow tomorrow seems to have shifted to wind instead, it will still be cold, but the roads will be wet rather than icy. Nonetheless, 'tis probably time to dig out the yaktrax, and keep them handy...

If there is a break in the rain, gathering up all the fallen leaves will be a good garden task, as well as shifting the henyard fences to enclose a smaller area. The poor things really did not want to leave the tiny henhouse for the wet and windy yard. Would really like to offer them a roofed space, maybe by next winter; prior attempts made with tarps and tentage have not been really functional... For the last several winters I dumped the fallen leaves into the henyard, which really increased the depth of the soft upper layer of the soil. (The plan is to use that area next spring, and continue letting the girls destroy the grass and fertilise the future garden space.)

Tonight seems like a good night to make up a big kettle of soup. I save vegetable ends, and the bits rinsed from cooking meat pans, and chicken bones, all in tubs in the freezer, when full, they get cooked again into broth. I'm thinking a kind of scotch broth tonight, with some carrots and garlic, and if I can find some small bits of lamb to add, will be very hearty indeed. I like it with barley; is necessary to add only a very small amount, barley is very thickening.

Is rather heartening, after being away from Stitchers Guild for months and months now, on my tentative return, dipping my toes into the SWAP scene once again, I find that I am remembered, and welcomed back. There are so many ways that this electronic world is a good and useful place, allowing connection between folks that would be unlikely to meet in realtime, and strengthening connection between friends and family in faraway places. Community and communication both derive from the same root. To be able to use the internet is another thing that I never take for granted, like running water, or being dry and fed and safe, to notice all the ways that things are functioning well despite the stormclouds...

dog is bounding at the door
growling and barking

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

gibbering not allowed

Spent a big chunk of yesterday over at hospital waiting for various pre-surgery testing. The wait for x-ray was so long that the technicians were handing out gift coupons for the cafe. Unfortunately, by the time it was finished, the cafe had closed for the day... Read through the hospital handout/worksheet/booklet about advanced directives, as I intend to do as much of that as realistic in the next few days. Not enough time to actually make a will and all that, but figure that writing down my thoughts about my wishes for what I would want if incapacitated will be a good thing. I also will be writing a few letters to particular folks, just in case...

I am still really scared. Determined to move forward, yes, but I'm mightily strong-willed, and do not let fear stop me from doing what needs to be done. My stubborn will has been very helpful to me over the years, has allowed me keep a clear head in emergency situations, for which I am very grateful. Nonetheless, will be very very glad to be past all this medical-fu...
: : :

Still having a lot of fun with planning for future sewing, might have to indulge myself and make up a storyboard. Am wishing that I had some goodly lengths of knit fabric suitable for long sleeve tops, what I mostly have is smaller pieces, in the form of other salvaged garments to be refashioned. One resource that I am looking at for inspiration is Marcy Tilton's "T-Shirt Gallery" There are seven pages of examples and tutorials, well worth scrolling through. She is a master of artistic combining of fabrics, often with adding details with paint or silkscreen.
: : :

On a more lighthearted note, I've figured out a way to improve my ancient vintage microwave, which does not have a functioning turntable any more. I normally use a pyrex lid atop the glass inner tray to quick-bake eggshells before crushing them for hen-calcium supplement. Well, for some reason, when I put my bowl full of lunch* in there to warm, it somehow caused the lid to wobble a bit... aha! says she, that is significant... If quick-fingered, can give said bowl-o-lunch a spin, close the door, push the buttons, and it will keep spinning long enough to evenly warm the food. Simple pleasures for simple people.
: : :

*For the last few weeks, have been making up, to keep in fridge, either: a goodly quantity of mixed veggies,stir-fried to be mixed with random protein, or bulgar-feta-kale salad, or fish cakes. All of these are quick to reheat for lunches.

dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief

Sunday, November 13, 2011

moving forward, one stitch at a time...

in which our plucky heroine takes up the reins of her regularly scheduled life again...

While otherwise occupied, I managed to miss a new-to-me holiday Corduroy Appreciation Day, and the most extreme one of the century, being 11-11-11. Chosen days to "celebrate" are those in which the numeric form most closely resembles the wales of corduroy. Alas, while I am most terribly fond of corduroy for clothing, and was, no doubt wearing some that day (since almost all of my pinafore-jumpers are made of such), there is very little corduroy in my fabric stash, no pieces large enough to make any complete garment, just small amounts that could be used as edge bindings.

Have decided that whatever garment sewing will be happening this year, will be using fabric from the Giant Stash o' Doom, and thereby reduce somewhat the possibility of SABLE*. Without too much effort, was able to pull out this assortment of fabric, in my favorite colors, (look, I've branched out, I'm including brown!) that should work for SWAP 2012 (sewing eleven garments between December - April) and Winter 6PAC** (sewing six garments between November and January):
fabrics, from left to right: indigo denim, black/brown flannel, black/blue slinky, navy/brown/multi lawn, brown brushed twill, multi-blue knit, blue/black/brown wool, black polartec windblock, black/taupe wool, navy/black rayon, black denim

Lest it seem that I have gone off the deep end into seamstress insanity, I actually need new clothes; the drawback of having a small curated wardrobe is that things wear out! Am thinking about how much it will help to have some tactical practical options, in addition to my beloved pinafore/jumpers. And the total number of garments should be fifteen rather than seventeen, since two of the 6PAC can pull a double shift and get added to SWAP - rules allow for two SWAP garments to be completed before the December start date. If I can pull this off, will mean that my sparse closet will not need replenishing for at least a year or two. Truly, being able to sew is a most resilient skill, and I use it not only for my own needs, but as a useful addition to my livelihood, in both the formal and the informal economy.

*SABLE = Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy

**Winter 6PAC =
1 - winter coat or heavy jacket in a dark neutral
2 - overlayer top, jacket or cardigan in a neutral
3 - overlayer top, jacket or cardigan in a colour
4 - underlayer top in neutral
5 - underlayer top in colour
6 - trousers in neutral

Friday, November 11, 2011

dust in the wind

"The fallen leaves that jewel the ground, they know the art of dying,
and leave with joy their glad gold hearts in scarlet shadows lying"...

≈ : ♥ : ≈

My friend passed out of this life in the dark hours between midnight and dawn. His passing leaves a gap that cannot be filled, as does each one who leaves our world. We who remain do what we can to take up the slack, and comfort each other. Life is uncertain, but love abides.

* - from October Song, Incredible String Band, written by Robin Williamson, 1966;
YouTube version here performed by Bert Jansch

Thursday, November 10, 2011

saying goodbye...

We never know what is around the next bend in the road. I have spent the day on vigil at OHSU - my old and dear friend Ian Cnulle suffered a catastrophic stroke last night. I got the call early this morning from his partner Karen, after they took him off the respirator. His prognosis is dire, he may have hours or days left, but is not expected to awaken.

When I left the hospital tonight Karen and other friends were with him. He looks like he is sleeping, and we have been told that he is not in pain. Karen asks that we pray for peace...

I pray for a peaceful transition for him, and for eventual peace for her heart as well, in some future time when the pain of his unexpected leavetaking is not all her world, and the memory of their joyful years together can lighten her grief.

I ask as well, that we all remember to tell our Dear Ones how very much they mean to us, and how very much we love them, because, sometimes, tomorrow does not come...

≈ : ♥ : ≈
May the long time sun shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light within you
Guide you all the way on.

autumnal adventuring

Today Emily and I thoroughly enjoyed a trip up to the Portland Japanese Garden. I'd had my heart set on seeing the "Mottainai: The Fabric of Life - Lessons in Frugality from Traditional Japan" exhibit. It did not disappoint; there is a world of difference between pictures on the electronic screen, and standing inches away from real artifacts.
The word “mottainai”, which means "waste nothing!" does not preclude beauty. This gauze textile (used as mosquito screening) is patched and repatched, and has an incredible functional beauty. There is much to appreciate in seeing and aesthetic of cherishing every bit of the available resource, rather than discarding what needs repair...there were so many beautiful textile artifacts, the product of japanese folk culture, in the exhibit ... I found the simple patchwork of these bags very appealing
the neckline of a jacket? with disc-shaped frogs, fastening with various loops and hooks. The worn place just to the right of the upper frog, is where the metal hook has left its mark...
Graceful curves on a small metal hook, that fastens a jacket neckline, and a closer view of a simple round frog, braided from indigo cordage.
: : :

We did not spend our entire visit inside the exhibit hall, for the garden was far too autumnal and vivid to resist...
Just outside the hall, somehow, the deep and abiding green only intensifies the red of the maple leaves. There is something lovely to see with every step along the pathways. There was a pergola carrying venerable wisteria, and looking up the trunk, all moss bedecked, seemed like another kind of path...as I so often notice, there is beauty to be found right at your feet... after looking up at the wisteria, I looked down to find this oh so japanese vignette. Wouldn't this make a beautiful design on a length of fabric for a kimono?in the big pond in the garden, koi of various colors drift above the fallen leaves...while in the formal garden, the raked ripples are also graced with fallen leaves
the soft November light glows through the laceleaf maple, while mushrooms large and small dapple the ground...Thank you Emily, for sharing the adventure, and for showing me the Thistle Elementals that live just a bit further down the hill from the garden...
: : :

dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday thoughts

in which our plucky heroine indulges in anticipation, allowing the fantasy that all will be well, in the hope that it may come to pass...

For the next few weeks, a dual focus; we (my crafty pals and I) are having a holiday gift sale here at Acorn Cottage on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, and I am having diagnostic surgery earlier that same week. A lot to prepare for, and not a lot of time! The good news is that I did not need to battle OHP for months to get this appointment, as was the case with my hand. Once medical-fu is behind me, (hopefully without further problems) the focus will be on cloisonne studio work, before the winter holiday season. It will be a treat to get back to enameling again...

And then, once the winter holiday season and 12th Night work is done, I intend to spend time sewing me some new clothes. SWAP is an acronym: "Sewing With A Plan", and is an annual occurrence currently being hosted on the Stitchers Guild Message Board. Each year there are somewhat different parameters, but always the idea is to end the challenge with an assortment of clothing that works for you. The last time I successfully completed a SWAP was in 2005, most of those clothes have long since worn out, with the exception of the Hawaiian shirt and the denim jacket. It was so great, that year, to have a closet that all the clothing worked together as friends; made getting dressed so very easy that I have ever afterward chosen my clothing to all work together in color and style.

This year there are no "quirky" requirements, and there is quite a bit of latitude in what to choose. The rules are: choose seven garments, and then from that seven, choose four to make two of, for a total of eleven. My intention is to make a blouse, two t-shirts, a vest, two tunic/overshirts, two dresses, two pairs of pants, and a skirt... This is not as insane as it seems. I have TNT* patterns for all of these garments except the pants and the vest.

It will be fun, I hope to not just do the planning (which always is my favorite part) but to actually have some new clothes to wear. I am particularly looking forward to coming up with some pants I am willing to wear, since this past year has showed me that there are times when my beloved pinafore dresses are not quite the appropriate garb. That trip to the ocean, for one, and wandering around in the woods up at Emerald Keep, for another...

* Tried-N-True

dog is on watch,
there is danger at the door

Monday, November 7, 2011

shake-n-bake, and ah halped...

Thanks to the handy and handsome G, there was not only an exceedingly pleasant amount of rest and relaxation this weekend, but a most productive amount of repair happened as well, involving some of my favorite kinds of shopping, at places like Mr Plywood...

Here is a tune, just to get in the right mood...

This is what the east and southeast corners of the workroom ceiling have looked like for the last several years...

First, we added some additional bits of my favorite mylar bubblepack to fill in the larger holes...

Before adding the larger plywood patch, there was a chance to add a bit of decorative detail to part of the repair...

We were able to use a great deal of salvaged lumber for the various support framework and ledger boards.

Eventually, when the weather is warmer, I shall probably paint it all white, so as to help it blend in better visually, but for now, 'tis a good and wonderful thing to not have the cold November wind whistling through the workroom!

from this ...
to this ...

Feeling right clever about putting the dryer up on a pallet mounted with casters, made it really easy to move it out of the way for the ceiling repair to happen. Behind the washer and dryer is one of the original wooden structural walls of Acorn Cottage; my intention is to put storage shelving up on the side nearest the doorway, carefully allowing for safe access (if needs be) to the wiring that snakes across that side of the wall. There's a salvaged old multi-paned window tucked away in the workroom, that will have the glass replaced with mirror, and get mounted on the wall above the dryer, to help bounce more light into that dark-ish corner of the room, but that is another project for another day, in a warmer time of year...
≈ : ♥ : ≈

dog is on watch,
there is danger at the door

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

compost without guilt

in which our plucky heroine decides that sometimes a crock pot is just a crock of ----!

I started making plum sauce yesterday evening. Was too tired to stay up late enough to finish cooking it down, and then waterbath process it, so transferred into the crock pot(s) to let it cook slowly overnight. Bah! That was an unexpectedly Bad Idea!

The plum sauce went from a delectably sweet/spicy/savory (if a bit thin) brown puree, to a charcoal-colored, somewhat bitter but still too thin liquid overnight. I suspect that the sugar somehow overcooked, like bad caramel, and in combination with the cayenne, it is no longer food. I think that adding more plums to this would be a waste. I doubt that the hens will want to eat it, and think that starting over, on a day when I can begin in the morning, and be a home to keep an eye on it, would be better. Fortunately there are still plums in the freezer, so there can will still be delicious condiment made for pantry storage and future meals, but it irks me mightily to have wasted several pounds of foraged plums, not to mention the additional ingredients, and the electricity to cook it. Oh well, live and learn. It is not always straightforward progress here at the Acorn Cottage homestead.

dog is on watch,
patiently waiting for relief