Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday scraps

Riding my bike in the last sunlit days, the air is clear and the sunshine and cool air a benison on the day, as I ride along the pathway to the store, the dogs and children in the park enjoy the last of Sunday afternoon... it still feels good to zoom along to get my errands done, though soon enough it will be too wet for riding.

I like the way that movement through time and space clears my head, and allows new ideas to float up to the surface. In the old days, going for a drive would do that, my friends and I just piled in the car and drove for miles, no particular destination; the movement, especially at night, would allow a particular flavor of intimacy in conversation, our words floating as easily between us as the car floated along the roads and highways. It seems so very distant now, to drive around aimlessly, the motion and the talking together as entertainment, though our plucky heroine had some small and delectable tastes of that in the time that G and I were keeping company. He would drive down here to Portland to gather me up and take me to his home, and the long highway miles there were filled with the same wonderful flavor of communion. Indeed, most all the times we spent together were bookended by that particular and uncommon joy. I miss it still, and every heartfelt country song reminds me of those nights...

But that memory is not the idea that found a way into my visualising brain this afternoon, but rather more mundanely, an idea about a way to tile the kitchen wall, in a temporary fashion... girl was wondering if it could be possible to cut backsplash panels in pieces, and tile them, and stick them to the wall (with proper flashing and caulking and such)... see, someday dreams have the lower half of that part of the kitchen rebuilt, but that will be long years from now if ever, and in the meantime, it sure would be nice to use and see every day the lovely tiles that I have, instead of them living in a box... for life is short, and putting the enjoyment of beauty off for someday seems foolish

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Saturday snippets

My sister is a great one for noticing what missing objects would make me squee with happiness... Most recently, a gift package arrived from Amazon and inside was the complete set of all three Alabama Chanin books! What a wonderful addition to my reference library; our plucky heroine is looking forward to even more experiments with handstitching decorative clothing.

Make and Mend is progressing along, so far the projects have been small enough for transit handwork.

Thanks to the beautiful shot silk organdy from Luz Clara, I was able to make suitable roses for the wedding guest hat. All the roses are backed with brooch findings, rather than permanently attaching them, and as my friend Dayna has a great passion for purple, I knew from the beginning that one of the rose brooches would be a gift for her, to add to her (purple) summer straw hat, and I think that she was quite pleased.

This week I used the small leftover scraps from my bag holder project to make a new potholder for the kitchen here at Acorn Cottage. The scraps, combined with a partially wornout hand towel, were transformed into a bright and useful cooking helper. I know, simple pleasures for simple people, but when it is grey outside this winter, every bit of brightness is welcome.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

there and back again, part 3

... in which our plucky heroine visits Crater Lake while on the way home...

The next morning... my ranger pals, after the wedding and before we headed out... at a park in K Falls

Under the wooden structure and behind the iron fencing, was a large steam locomotive.

Over by the lake, these retired treads were once used to offload logs into the water

sunlight glitters on spiderwebs

there are a number of roads leading out of town, but the contrast between the green lakeside and the dry hills was what caught my eye...

After many years, an ambition achieved, and I visit Crater Lake; Worth seeing indeed, was on my list for years, but never managed it, and my pals were kind enough to make the detour

It is truly a natural wonder of the world... far too large to see in one look

Turn to one side and there is Wizard Island,
another volcanic cone inside the caldera

The azure sky and the cobalt water shine

Off to one side, the Phantom Ship sails.

On a clear day there is so much to see!

This was my first ever visit to Crater Lake; I know this looks rather a lot like I pasted a picture of me onto a picture of some amazing scenery, but really this is what it looked like. All to soon, it was time to continue heading homeward...

The van up ahead is S and B and V, 
we are all on the road back north.

The intrepid L, who kindly shared car space so our plucky heroine could attend this very special shindig... The scenery visible through the windows is a good reason to smile!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

there and back again, part 2

in which our plucky heroine is happy to share in the joy...
The reason for the long trip was that Barret and Stacy were getting married...

'Tis a happy day indeed when two dear friends celebrate their union.

Of course, there was wedding cake at the reception, as well as homemade cupcakes in great variety and abundance. The church ladies also made the most delectable high tea sandwiches...

Cutting the cake is a traditional part of the reception; delicious wedding cake like this one is somewhat more uncommon. May the tasty true flavor of this bode well for a savory and memorable sweet future for my dear friends...

to be continued, tomorrow, with pictures from Crater Lake...

there and back again, part 1

in which our plucky heroine travels to K Falls for a wedding of dear friends, with an unexpected side journey to Crater Lake...
'twas a long drive from Portland to Klamath Falls, on a sunny September afternoon

There is an incredible quality of light in the high country, and the sunset colors are vivid

After the wedding rehearsal, Vandy made some last minute alterations in the brides gown...

...while Stacy, the lovely bride-to-be, used some of her creative skills to add a personal touch to the wedding favors.

The next day would be the big event...

(our plucky heroine bossed the sparkly springy ribbon around, and tied neat bows on pairs of candles)
To be continued, with more pictures, tomorrow...

there was a very fancy hat decorated for this event, (the bride had requested that we all wear "fabulous hats"), with lots of organza roses made from shot silk. Making the roses was not too difficult, though the organza was quite springy. I followed the general guidelines posted here  The roses are one of my Make and Mend items, being made from a gifted large remnant of silk, that matched my summertime party dress perfectly

My dear mother, noticing my struggles on more than one occasion to identify the pretty things I photograph, just sent me a field guide to North American wildflowers. What an excellent addition to my reference books... thank you Mom!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Autumn 6PAC update

Have been finding small bits of time almost every day to keep on with my sewing, though sometimes it is only for fifteen or twenty minutes. The minutes add up though...

Item # 4 in the Autumn 6PAC, the basic black jumper dress, made from "mystery fabric". I suspect this will see a lot of wear just as soon as the weather cools down. All edges self-bound including pocket tops.

It did take a bit of doing to get the under-armscye to not be quite so baggy, but the odd darts (vertical, next to side seams) I needed to take are basically hidden in the texture of the heavy cotton fabric. I think that the next time I make this pattern, I shall do a few minor adjustments on the upper bodice, I think that the shoulders are just a bit wider than I am comfortable with, they almost try to slide off, so rather than shift them, I shall narrow them instead. I also think that I need to either scoop out the armscye a bit in the front, or maybe do a small narrow upper chest adjustment... not sure...but the inner edge of the armscye, just above the bust, is not quite right.

The finished hat for my Autumn 6PAC... The brown fabric is the same brushed twill that is intended for the final two 6PAC items. Added an outer hatband, ribbon trim edged in the same bias black linen as the edgebinding. Decorated with a blue felt rose and a feather brooch I brought home from OCF about twenty years ago...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

make and mend

Over on New Vintage Lady's blog, she posted the Make and Mend challenge for this year, and since it sounds like fun, and like a number of the requirements are things that will make good handwork projects 'til it is cool enough to resume knitting, look for an assortment of additional projects in the next month and a half.

These are the Make and Mend criteria for 2012:
  • Make two crafts from scrap fabric, (hat, pot holders, table runner, etc.).
  • Rework one garment.
  • Make two wearable items not meant for day wear (i.e. : jim jams, robe, slip, etc.).
  • Embellish one item (i.e. faggoting, pin tucking, embroidery, etc).
  • Make one item (in addition or one of the items above) for someone else.

The idea of make and mend is not as twee as it sounds; to be able to repair, or actively reuse household things is a resilient skill. I do not discard clothing until it is worn out, and often then the useable parts are remade into something else. But then, I make pretty much more than 90% of my wearables save footgear. My first project though, will be something far from utilitarian: silk organza flowers... hopefully the tutorial for t-shirt roses will also work with a more ethereal fabric. The fabric, as mentioned yesterday, was part of a bundle sent to me by an online pal from the Stitchers Guild message board (thanks Luz Clara), and shows obvious signs of having pattern pieces cut from it, so surely fits the description of scrap fabric, albeit a rather large scrap!

These are my ideas for what to make:
  • fabric flowers to decorate hats + potholder from leftovers from kitchen plastic bag holder*
  • Rework black thrifted dress into jumper
  • two slips aka underdresses for added wintertime warmth
  • Embellishment will not be a problem, pretty much everything I make has some kind of handworked decoration
  • if I post what I will be making for someone else, it will not be a surprise...

* apparently I forgot to post about this small project, completed a few weeks part of the ongoing attempt to do at least one thing every day to combat entropy, I stitched up this bag holder, made from about half of a tea towel, to hang between the kitchen and the workroom. This bit of useful storage has been on my to-do list for months now, but took less than an hour... The more that there are "places" for the needful stuff to live, the more focus can shift to more interesting things than why are the plastic bags on the floor again

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

in search of baby bears reality and other Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine makes the too small larger and the too big smaller, among other things...

These flowers are "Cockscomb" aka "Brain Celosia"... this flower looks so much like something that grows in a tide pool, but is actually part of the amaranth family, and some in this group are edible, though I'd not chance it with these, grown for their flowers. I wonder if this might be a suitable brain substitute for feeding vegetarian zombies?

(this thimble is too small) I find that handstitching is a lot more comfortable with a thimble to push the needle around, and ever since working in the leather shop back in the seventies, I much prefer a leather thimble to one of metal. Somehow, though, the most recent one I cobbled together ended up just a little bit too snug. Rather than wait for it to stretch out into the perfect fit, like my other almost-worn-out ten-year-old thimble, I decided to stretch it overnight instead... soaked in water, then stuffed enough spoon handles into it to get it just a bit larger. The next morning when it was dry, it was perfect.

(this pinafore is too big) Am almost finished with the black textured stripe jumper. All the edges are bound with self-bias, and the pockets sewn in place, but when I tried it on, somehow I had overestimated how wide I am on top, and it was comically loose at the sides... rather a pain to unpick the binding at the armscye edges, but it will soon be remedied. I shall simply pinch out a dart next to the side seam, as it is only right at the edge that it is too loose...

(these flowers are just right) Took all my felted flower brooches off the denim hat and refurbished them. The background fabric is shot silk organza (purple and blue) that will become some additional fabric roses, all to be used to decorate a very fine party hat... After all when friends are getting married, what better time for an extravagant millinery confection. And rather than run up another warm weather party dress, I shall make do with my current one, a relic from years ago at Country Fair, a beautiful bias cut hand dyed rayon, with triple layered cape sleeves, in cobalt and purple. I did not sew it myself, and spent, at the time, waaaaay too much on it, but it has served me well for many years, and will continue to do so.

. .
Is it contagious? At the barbeque on Sunday, my pal Vandy showed up with a recombinant dress that she had embellished using the renowned Alabama Chanin style reverse applique. I think she did a splendid job, and really would expect that, as she is one of the most amazingly multitalented artists that I am honored to have as friends. If I could say that she has a primary art, it might be her glassblowing work - look at the great autumnal pumpkins that she makes...

Saturday, September 15, 2012


One of the weekend projects is a basic black pinafore jumper, in a heavier fabric suitable for cooler weather (and our plucky heroine is eager for weather cool enough to allow wearing multiple layers of clothing...)

The chosen fabric is one that is rather unusual, as it is heavily and irregularly ribbed, but not corduroy. I am unsure what this type of fabric is called; the raised areas are created by changing the tension on the floats on the back. It will be interesting to see if it wears well.

I have several TNT pinafore patterns, and for this one, chose the one with diagonal piecing in the side panels. The pattern (originally McCalls 7730) was a loosely fitting dress, and I refit the bodice years ago to a closer fit, recut the neckline, and removed the sleeves, so it could be worn over a blouse or knit top. I have made this up in corduroy several times (as well as heavy linen), to good effect, so thought that it should work well in this ribbed fabric as well...
. .
original pattern and modified result

The wolf applique t-shirt is finished. I am pretty happy with the layered cap sleeves, and may use them again at some point, though I may extend them just a bit more, one inch beyond my shoulder points still looks pretty narrow. I might also add a few reverse applique stars to the other sleeve, as it looks just a bit unbalanced with only the moon on one side and nothing on the other.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday fragments

Last night an unexpected phone call from my pal B, who was on the road headed south to the borderlands, and wanted to know if our plucky heroine would like some company... was a good chance to catch up on his recent doings, and to see the new saddlebags for the Harley. Showed me a new set of entertaining videos to explore: Medieval Lives, hosted by Terry Jones; should be great for short rewards after doing needful housekeeping

Another hot afternoon, where the best thing to do on the way home is to stop and walk around in Teachers Fountain before heading the rest of the way home. Yay for Keen watershoes, which make drenching the socks of unpleasant squeeziness with cold water possible

Finished the wolf t-shirt, will try for pictures tomorrow, in the morning, when it will hopefully be cool enough that wearing a longsleeve tee willn't be unrealistic. Dare I hope to actually complete six garments this 6PAC...

Thinking about restarting Crafternoon, maybe the last weekend this month? Comments??

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

wishful Wednesday

As our plucky heroine begins to sort through all kinds of supplies and projects and suchlike here at Acorn Cottage, (huzzah for 20/10's) it sure would be useful to have some tidy containers to sort into... am making do with paper sacks from the grocery store, and a few extra large rubbermaid totes. What I wish for would be something like a whole stack of identical boxes, somewhere between shoebox size and half-ream size, with lids. Boxes the size that a pair of boots come in would be perfect, and while I am dreaming, could they be all one color, (plain cardboard brown) without graphics or printing... Oh, say, maybe two or three dozen... but, since there is no money in what is called the till for such extravagance, I shall make do, with what is here...

Am making good progress on the wolf t-shirt, lots of time for handwork while riding on the new "improved" longer more convoluted bus routes that go along with the higher fare (sarcastic? nah, not me...) There are all kinds of different handstitches that are suitable for holding down edges that need to stretch (like necklines, and cuffs)

Whilst out and about, this conjunction caught my eye: brightsun and shade, blue and pink and lots of green...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

random Tuesday tidbits

#1. Have decided to not post any more heartbreak foo till after the solstice, by then I may likely be feeling different, and this will encourage me to continue to shift my attention away from foo and towards beauty and creativity instead.

#2. Found my Opinel this morning - yay!! I feel so undressed without a knife, and just do not want to walkabout Portland wearing a sheath knife, though making a kind of steampunky gear belt might be fun... and huzzah for 20/10's, my new best friend

#3. Continued work on the wolf t-shirt, and cut out the upper sleeve caps and the undersleeves. After cutting out the undersleeves, found that there was a small hole in one of them. Decided that rather than re-cut, that the hole was a perfect location for a small crescent moon reverse applique. Now am thinking that a scattering of stars would add design consistency to the other sleeve... always walking the line between enough and way too much....

Sunday, September 9, 2012


and now back to our regularly scheduled program...

Today the air was cooler, and the sky not so unrelentingly blue. It was pleasant to be out and about, and notice the small signs of the season shifting towards autumn. The long summer dusk is noticeably shortening, evening bike rides are not often possible to fit in with the afterwork tasks.
The street trees along SE 13th have these amazingly odd fruits...

A new T-shirt is in the works, in chocolate brown with an appliqued graphic scavenged from a thrifted shirt that Karen found at "the Bins". Her comment on finding it was that the artist's designs were very similar to my style; this wolf reminds me a lot of my running horse logo. I did a line of stitching in pale cream around the edges of the graphic, and will stitch it in place once the front panels of the shirt are completed. Stay tuned for the next week or so... Sometimes I wonder if I am addicted to doing handwork; when I have no ongoing small project to tote around and work on in the between moments, it is actually uncomfortable. Soon it will be cool enough that getting back to knitting will be pleasant, but until then, it will be hand-stitching.

My autumn 6 PAC plan has shifted a bit, since working on the knit tops is being soooo much fun. Initially I'd intended to make a vest, or a jacket, overalls, one jumper, a Teagarden T, and two T-shirts. Well, I already have a lot of vests, not sewn, but knit, in colors that coordinate with pretty much any of my current or probable future clothing, so it makes no sense to make yet another vest right now. Since my favorite grey pinafore died there is a gap in my wardrobe, so I shall make two new ones, one in black and one in the same lovely chocolate brushed twill as the new autumn hat that is not quite finished... The Teagarden T will be added to the wintertime 6PAC instead, and the third T-shirt will be in two tones of brown: dark chocolate and bittersweet chocolate, with the salvaged applique on the front.

revised Autumn 6PAC
dk neutral overlayer -
dk neutral bottom -
dk neutral top -
alt neutral overlayer -
alt neutral top -
color link top -
- brown twill pinafore
- brown twill overalls
- brown t-shirt
- black pinafore
- black t-shirt
- blue/black/brown t-shirt

Saturday, September 8, 2012


in which our plucky heroine moves forward in reversing environmental degradation...

That is to say, Acorn Cottage has fallen into a rather slatternly state of being, since for months and months, our plucky heroine was too convalescent to actually do housework, as per doctors orders, but not too convalescent to simply stay in bed and do nothing at all, so there is a mortal lot of MOOP, as well as the gradual detritus that life will deposit in uncleaned houses. Since I am now starting to feel more energetic, this is not a state of being that will continue.

As previously mentioned, UfYH has been very inspiring, and using the 20 minutes on, 10 minutes off model has been a great success:

northwest corner of the kitchen, before...

northwest corner of the kitchen, after.

work-table, before...

work-table, after.

Chest food freezer successfully defrosted for the first time in seven years, thanks to B & K and their multiple coolers. Wow, the freezer weighs almost nothing when it is EMPTY, so I was able to slide it across the kitchen floor and wash the floor underneath! Simple pleasures for simple people...

under the freezer floor, before...

under the freezer floor, after.