Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday musings

First off, the power went out Sunday evening for several hours, starting around sundown... fortunately our plucky heroine is prepared for this sort of eventuality... When the power is out, candles help. To burn safely indoors the flame must be contained - three tealights inside a glass cookie jar, backed with a three-sided cut-glass mirror... Even with candles, I don't have enough alternative lighting to be able to DO much of anything when the power is off at night. If it hadn't come back on, was thinking about getting out the emergency stove to heat up some food, but wasn't needed. Also noticed that having multiple candles/matches access points might be helpful, though wee flashlight lives in pocket anyway...

When the power went out (high winds and driving rain) I was winding down after the long weekend with four houseguests... though initially only two were expected! This just cracked me up! With four people come to visit for the weekend, it was a very good thing that the family brought their own camping bedding, but to actually use the living room while awake, we stacked all the bedding in the bedroom - looked rather a lot like "the princess and the pea" and had to dissuade the five-year-old from clambering around atop it all...

And, in other good news, courtesy of SR&R had a short side trip to the Keen warehouse sale on Saturday, and managed to acquire a pair of Useful Shoes... they look to be the Barkley Lace style; I wear a very common size of womens' shoes, which means that I also wear a quite small size of men's shoes, and since the foots are shaped a lot more like men's than women's feet, the Keen men's last fits me much better anyway. That little excursion saved me over a hundred dollars, whilst I'd not planned on buying shoes, spending $30 for a pair of all leather US made oxfords makes all kinds of sense. They are comfy and I think also cute in their own quirky way...

On Sunday morning my pal Bill helped with a few additional projects, as it was far too much weather for he and his wife to do any more yard work...
There is now a place to store the pavilion poles inside, above the back door, with sturdy brackets (and extra bungee cords for earthquake safety) Easily accessible and out of the way at the same time, in a space not useful for much else...

...and, in attempting to change a burned out light bulb, our plucky heroine managed to drop the light fixture on her head (ow!) and not catch it before it fell to the concrete floor... so a trip to the ReBuilding Center was necessary, where this new slightly older light was acquired. The laundry zone is even brighter than before...

There was also some Helpful Discussion and Demonstration of how to sharpen cutlery and pocket knives with a diamond hone. I think that I might need to acquire add these tools to my long wishlist of future acquisition. Mindy's husband Bill makes beautiful and fascinating custom knives, and after the demonstration, several of my kitchen knives are a lot sharper, as is my pocket Opinel...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

the Bad Backyard, redeemed

For a while now our plucky heroine has been working on a little woolen cloak for Laurel (daughter to pals Mindy and Bill),  a cloak that would be similar to but not identical to the one that I made years ago for Young Heather, which is now being worn by Heather's daughter Elli... Elli and Laurel are best friends and roommates. In exchange for my labor and with generous kindheartedness, Mindy and Bill offered to come down here to Portland and help with the project of reclaiming...
...the really Bad Backyard :
...a year and a half of neglect will be a real challenge to turn around, and will require a lot of asking for and somehow finding help of various sorts...I don't know what it will take to bring this space back to useable, but will surely involve more than just me, probably some equipment, and some time from someone with a truck.

the former pathway to the back yard

the north side of the yard is still somewhat passable

the deserted chicken yard, intended to be home to future garden beds

the main part of the yard - waist high weeds...I suspect if I had quadrupedal livestock this would be a treat rather than a problem, it looks a lot like Matron of Husbandry's pasture photos - the issue being that it is not part of someone's back 40, but my very own tiny urban backyard

This weekend, they were able to come down here, along with my dear oldest friend Sharon, who was willing to help childmind Laurel whilst the Mindy and Bill managed to get an amazing amount of work done on Saturday before the bulk of the rain and wind arrived here...

The pathway back to the yard is now passable!

random bits of fencing stacked near the shed, pear tree weeded and mulched with comfrey, and look! there is flat space visible and the blackberry vines are in the yard waste bin instead of under and around the shed doors.

Standing at the gate to the yard, you can see the corner of the (stupid) deck and the overgrown apple, and all across the yard it is no longer a hayfield

See!! Amazing work was done with a much beefier weedeater than the dainty little electric one I have. The chicken house has been moved to the future location.

The entire yard is visible, the dread hazelnuts have been ripped from their assorted abodes, and the feral rosebushes have been cut back so the side yard is accessible. A definite dent has been made in the morning glory population, though much more need to be removed. I can visualise where the future garden beds will be, and the future hen yard and chunnel.

Work parties are wonderful, I need to arrange a few more of them!  The poor neglected backyard, that has been de-evolving since my cancer diagnosis, is starting to turn around. With help, there will be some beds created to fill with homegrown veggies and fruit, and over time the yard will eventually become the oasis of useful beauty that was my original intention. Now there is space to plant the apple tree I have a gift certificate for, to lay out the plan that Master Gardener Sharon helped me create, and to step by step improve the outside as well as the inside of the house. I walked through fire to get a future that included me being alive for it, I want another thirty years, and I want to make this place the home it can become...

Monday, September 23, 2013

Monday musings

Instead of ordering the lovely NaniIro double gauze from Japan via Etsy, our plucky heroine picked up a half yard of this graphic silk chiffon whilst at Fabric Depot this weekend (it was one of their 30% off everything days) My plan is to make another cowl scarf, silk packs down to almost nothing, is warm when it is cold out, but light enough to not be too warm when the weather is moderate; it will make a good addition to my assorted dark travel wardrobe. To really look well, it needs to have both long raw edges hand-rolled. Not my favorite sort of handwork at all, but it looks soooo much better than machine stitched on such delicate fabric; timing the stitching on the bus today, it will take about five or six hours, fortunately not all at one go!

the translucency of the silk is clearly visible, as is the scale of the handstitching needed to finish the raw edges,
look in the upper right edge just below the ruler for the small needle and thread. (p.s. I wish I could read French...)


just discovered that the bobbin winder cover on my old sewing machine, when in the uncover the bobbin postion, make a dandy place to stash a small pair of scissors for snipping threads...
Still mostly playing catch-up, but last week saw the completion of one big project: the Gorram Gambeson. Fortunately my old sewing machine has a walking foot attachment*, and while NewGirl 'Nina does a lot of things, she doesn't have one of these. For sewing through multiple thick layers of linen and padding, the right tool is vital, and I am quite grateful to have my backup machine be so well equipped.
Stitching the bias linen edge binding around the gambeson neckline, the end is in sight... This has been a lengthy project, and after seventeen hours behind the sewing machine, 'tis done at last. As the various pieces were added bit by bit to the garment, it became more and more heavy and unwieldy. The last part, sewing the central upper sleeves to the center of the shoulder line, I broke three needles, as the thickness was almost higher than the presser foot would lift; and even with the walking foot, moving the gambeson around so the machine could actually stitch was quite the challenge.
No pictures yet of the finished garment, since it took so many more hours than I'd set aside to complete it, that I was still sewing up till around 10PM that day. The good thing is that Gryphon is pleased with the finished project, and having him come down here for the final steps meant that the fit could be adjusted to suit the intended use. Still, our plucky heroine is very glad to move on to a different, smaller, projects.

Tune in next week kids, for words and widgets from the workroom....

* I purchased the attachment back in 1987 when I bought the machine (not a Bernina, but a Bernette, their "budget line), knowing that there were some tasks it would be invaluable for, it was a spendy bit of equipment even back then; a walking foot attachment for a real Bernina lists at around $300 nowadays, so I guess that having two machines really makes sense!

"So we'll talk about the weather 'cause there's not much more to say..."

It has been over a year now, and the story of F & G is well and truly over...


Thursday, September 19, 2013

4PAC variation

I will admit to being rather taken with the Elizabeth's 4PAC concept, and decided to see what I could come up with. The postulated need for a travel wardrobe would be that I on occasion head up to Seattle, or down to Eugene, for a few days. While I don't have any such trips currently in the works, it was a very interesting exercise, to see what I already had, what of the planned future sewing would fit, and where the obvious holes in my wardrobe were...

One bottom----------------------(grey corduroy pinafore)
One top-------------------------black lace tee shirt
One layer (cardigan or jacket)--black pinstripe blouse
One scarf-----------------------(nani iro double gauze scarf in grey)
One bag-------------------------(large tote bag with pockets?)
One pair of shoes---------------black boots
Two pieces of jewellery---------(sewing necklace, black/grey lampwork earrings)

One bottom----------------------black denim overall pinafore
Two tops------------------------black crow tee shirt
(or one top one dress)----------black lawn peplum top
One layer-----------------------dark wool sweater with grey designs
One scarf-----------------------black pom pom cowl
One pair of shoes---------------black river shoes
One piece of jewellery----------notional button earrings

The bracketed pieces are ones that have not yet been created. It seems obvious to me what the glaring hole is in my wardrobe. I don't own a raincoat. I should own a raincoat, I live in the northwest! (I do have a gore-tex outdoor jacket, in (ugh!) forest green that is very functional and not terribly atttractive, as well as not being long enough to look well over dresses or pinafores. In addition, I don't have much in the way of jackets either. Does it seem like it might be useful for me to finally take self in hand and try making at least one or two things in the way of a layering garment? Also I was not sure if the bag mentioned was meant to be a purse style bag, or a suitcase style bag?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Tuesday tidbits

This last week several different things made their way here to Acorn Cottage, perhaps in response to my cri de coeur... My pal Stacy found these tiny and terribly kawaii maneki-neko pushpins in Japan, on one of her several trips there, and decided that they needed to live with me! I've been thinking about decluttering my big bulletin board, and these will certainly be an encouraging and cheerful addition.

Increasing functionality will include finding ways to better use the current infrastructure as well as seeing where additional systems or objects need to be added. The large bulletin board on the guest room door could be used to track needful actions, instead of simply being a visual inspiration board, for example. Once the flooring that has been sitting against the bedroom wall eventually gets installed in the bedrooms, that wall can serve all sorts of useful and beautiful functions. Our plucky heroine needs to remember that slow progress is still progress...

It may be that there are still some prune plums in the feral plum tree out behind the shed. Ought go check that out soon, as homemade homecanned plum sauce is a real treat. being a condiment similar to hoisin sauce, and so tasty an additon to wintertime meals. All the low hanging fruit gets taken by passers-by, but if the squirrels haven't eaten all of them, it should be possible to go round to the alley with my fruit picking pole and my stepladder, and forage some fruit.

word of the day: quotidian

Have been listening to "Welcome to Night Vale" podcasts, which is being an excellent accompaniment to the ongoing commission sewing nights, thank you to my dear pal Jen for upping my access to weird. Almost every evening the sewing machine whirr and thumps, as my current stitchery for pay project slowly progresses. G asked me to make him a gambeson (a medieval padded garment worn either as armor or underneath metal armor for padding. Stitching multiple layers of natural linen and padding together, whilst the person it is intended for is miles away, girl can only hope that the resulting object will fit and function as desired. It is a big project, G is tall, and the sort of short sleeved padded coat will cover him from neck to mid-leg. Right now it looks like a bunch of thickly padded and quilted pattern pieces, but in the next two days it will all be stitched together and edgebound. All this would have been done by hand in actual historic times, but the sewing machine has allowed the sewing to take somewhat less time. So far I have about twelve hours into the project; since there was no pattern to start with, it first required taking a pattern from his heavy wool shirt jacket...

The window screens here have never been cleaned, and finally inspiration sent me online (well, duh!) and the secret of how to detach them from the window system was clarified. Despite occasional vacuuming, they look dreadfully dirty! Though it is late in the year for such scrubbing, it is perhaps better than attempting this at the start of windowfan season; this way the windows can gradually each be rid of the years of accumulated dust and cobwebs, and as wintertime gradually rounds the corner, there will be more light making its way indoors...

fun with fermentation

in which our plucky heroine, with a desire to encourage microlife to generate tasty pickled things, chronicles experiments in lacto-fermentation, and realises that a degree in aesthetics and enameling does not qualify one for microbiology...

Two weeks ago, September 6, with the acquisition of some pickling cucumbers, I began to try and ferment my own pickles, after finding my own tastebuds had shifted from decades of hating pickles, to now finding them delectable. What can I say but it must be peer pressure, similar to the exponential growth of urban and suburban chicken keeping...

On the next day, in the mailbox was a package from my friend Kada, who sent me these fascinating new bits of equipment to add to the great Pickling Experiment! (two air locks, two corks, and a non-metal lid with a 3/4" hole; it will not be that difficult to cut another lid to have dual airlocks) as well as a link to her pages with information about the process.

So now I have two different batches of pickles going, one in a half-gallon mason jar with an airlock, and the other in an open-top glass container, covered with a clean cloth and topped with the glass lid. Both containers have a glass weight inside, under the brine, to keep the protopickles from floating. I am doing SCIENCE! or at least something like, with an opportunity to compare and contrast.

several days later... The initial bubbling of fermentation seems to have stopped. The open container has developed rather unpleasant looking mold on top, small floating islands of white centered with black. Not appetizing.

several more days have passed... The jar with the airlock has continued cloudy, and now has a thin whitish scum on the surface, and drifting white specks;

...although the cukes within look rather more like pickles.

The open jar is now even more alarming, whilst the black and white mold seems to have stopped forming (I was skimming it off every day) the surface of the brine now has a strange pinkish coating on it

...and there are large whitish clumps all admixed with the contents of the jar.

The cloth that was covering the open jar (under the lid) appears to have some of the reddish whatever either splashed on to surface, or growing there.
I see a need for bleach and sunshine in the future. The contents of the jar will be going in the compost bin shortly, and the jar and plate will be not only washed but scalded with boiling water.

My first pretty attempt at pickles didn't work out very well... but while so far there has been no success, I am determined to continue experimenting so as to eventually add this skill to my repertoire. Stay tuned for "Return of fun with fermentation"...

Saturday, September 14, 2013


It has a been a really rough week(and more) a combination of far too much heat, being sick enough for three days that work needed to be re-scheduled, and emotional stress, but our plucky heroine felt just a tad brightened today by finding a cylindrical parcel in the mailbox all wrapped about with moustache duct tape... and inside, a pair of gorgeous hand carved tasting spoons, made for me by the very talented Seb Barnett... One is oak and the other is brazilian walnut, polished with grapeseed oil and beeswax; they are as long as common kitchen wooden spoons, but with small narrow deep bowls, suitable for dipping out a wee taste of something cooking on the stove. There is nothing better that having the artwork of other artist friends to use in daily life.

Look at the detail on this acorns and oakleaf finial, so perfect for my kitchen and done, of course, in oak.

The other tasting spoon has a wee fat bird as a finial, somewhat reminiscent of the hens that should be living here, and definitely perfect for Portland! The walnut has such a rich color. Really, cooler weather can't come soon enough for me, so that there will be soup, and stew, and sauces to cook and to taste...

Girl has been thinking perhaps too much, about success and failure, about acceptance and settling, about disappointing the very folks one would least want to... Though it seems like all should be well, my med appointments show no overly untoward issues, and there is still a roof overhead and food in the cupboards, I am still waving in and out of feeling bereft, and unsure how to move from where I stand now to more solid ground. There are too many days when it feels like my life the last twenty years has been wasted, days when my heart is full of unshed tears, days when the only touch against my skin is the rough bark of the street tree that I lean against and water the ground with the pain in my heart.

There must be a way to find a new path to a place of balance... I have been working with SR, my acupuncturist, on the various focal points of pain in my body, and while my feet, with regular attention, are functional again, the new different pain in my shoulder seems to have a peculiar emotional content. While laying on the table this week, with needles in various places (particularly in the very cranky rotator cuff) a wave of sadness crashed over me and tears leaked down from my eyes across the sides of my face. Now mind, my most common thing when getting acupuncture is to fairly promptly fall asleep, and I did do that eventually, but there is something, for lack of a better term, stored in that shoulder that is not yet in my conscious awareness, but connected to the aforementioned issues.

What rings in my mind, when left to drift, is that I am still in limbo, still unwanted, still a failure. Twenty years ago I met someone who was all I'd ever asked for, save for one minor detail... that I was not what he was looking for. Though our lives have braided together in different ways over the intervening years, it feels to me now that some lack in self-confidence put me in the category of someone that he looks at with disappointment as to how little I do with the gifts of hand and eye I have been given, compared to what I could be doing (or maybe that is all in my head, being that he and I have never talked about it, that not being the sort of connection we maintain). Though Gryphon and I had throughout our year and a half together (and before) an ongoing conversation about who we were and what we wanted, in the end he chose C and left. Did my hard won choice to do my best to accept him as he was, not asking him to change for me, not putting up fences to limit his life and connection to others, somehow make me of lesser worth. I wonder, or is it that I chose him, but he didn't ever actually choose me... shall never know
The connections I have now, I cherish. All different, all valid, and none with the proximity that would allow more ongoing contact. Does this mean that I am settling for less than what I want or accepting what is possible... Girl is still really broken, despite months spent seeing a counselor... and I need to find a way to mend. The external scars are visible, the internal ones will always be there, but my spirit, that could heal, that could be mended, in the way that kintsugi, the japanese art of mending broken pottery with gold, creates a new beauty from what has been irreparably broken

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

6PAC progress

I was lucky enough to be one of the winners in Shams blogiversary giveaway, and am so excited, these zippers arrived safely in my mailbox today! They are even more attractive in person. They are a lovely texture, not flimsy OR harsh, but rather like a strong smooth ribbon, and the stripes are woven into the fabric. They would work well with either a middle weight jacket fabric, or a heavy weight pinafore fabric, like corduroy or denim... not sure what is in the stash that would be suitable but am looking forward to making something for the cooler weather that surely will arrive sooner or later.

I am considering making the planned 6PAC grey corduroy pinafore with a front zip and zipper pockets as well. It would have to be shorter than my usual, more like knee length than mid calf (might be time to play with the croquis again...) and could have some balancing neckline embellishment in black/white to help tie the whole thing together. Have plenty of time to think it over, as I don't plan on starting the pinafore till next month...

Am making very slow progress on everything, partially due to the hot weather, with temps over 90(F) I just get so wiped outm and today I was sick as well, bah! I have managed to finish the EF refashion; there was a lot of hand stitching, as the Eileen Fisher fabric was very textured, and it seemed like machine sewing the alterations would have stretched it out in an unsuitable way. I think it will look well under my pinafores in the cooler autumn weather, and might also be able to be worn open, over summer dresses as a sort of shirt-jacket.

So, that makes two tops finished, and next up will be a grey rayon popover dress. Wondered if it would be rather superfluous by mid September, but as our current weather is rather unrelentingly sunny, another hot weather dress will actually be useful! This design is quite a fast easy sew, consisting entirely of rectangles and triangles; the loose fit is cool to wear, and choosing drapey rayon keeps it from looking entirely shapeless.

Monday, September 9, 2013

monday musings

June weather in September, a cool grey morning to offset the mid eighties this afternoon (and the mid nineties forecast for later this week) so going out for a bike ride before breakfast seemed a treat. It turns out that it only takes about fifteen minutes to ride over to the Columbia Pool, so my idle thought about trying water exercise might be possible... I shall have to go and try out a sample class sometime soon, and if it seems doable, apply for a scholarship and make it part of my ongoing health efforts. Truly, the way to change your life is to do things differently. So far, my bootstrapping has been focused on choosing something positive to do in the interval between my upon awakening medicine and my one hour later breakfast medicine. Instead of leaping online and getting distracted, my choices are to either go work on a project, or go do some physical activity. I need variety, so having one specific thing doesn't work for me, but if there is a menu of positive choices, girl is less likely to dig heels in and say no. (sometimes it seems like I spend an awful lot of time finding ways to work with my inner toddler)

Am feeling the urge to try pickling all sorts of things, the limiting factor being the fact that my fridge is bitsy, and needs to hold other things in addition to jars of lacto-fermented goodness. But wouldn't pickled carrots be a treat, and what about the idea of cauliflower florets brining in a jar with a small red beet, to yield potentially magenta proto-pickles...

Whilst out on my bikeride this morning, had a new idea about the future chicken options. Boy howdy do I miss having hens, not only the eggses, but the structure to my day, and the additional life in the homeplace... anyway, the idea was that rather than be all sadface about currently limited resources, I could create a portable modular chunnel, that it needn't actually surround the entire yard, but could be attached to the fencing and move around the edges in rotation. That would mean I could probably use what I have, instead of purchasing a lot of new (spendy) materials. Plus, it means a "design challenge", and is a new example of thinking outside my assumptions

Sunday, September 8, 2013

mindshift or becoming cloudy with small bubbles...

in which our plucky heroine, hands firmly on bootstraps, attempts to lift feet... whoops, that isn't how that one works, usually... coming back to Portland after my tenday trip was more difficult than suspected; 'tis not that my own company is not pleasant, but rather that too much of the one thing leads to wishing for variety, in the same way that interesting condiments make bland food more pleasing. Still need to find a balance between alone time and with people time... When I don't write, for the desire not to share my struggles, then I also lose the good reminder of my everyday life in all its joys and curiousity. Must needs remember that, lest my journal fall prey to Hallmark Syndrome.

Japanese anemone lives in a pot on my front porch across from the front door. I am not sure it is the best place for this plant to be happy, but this week it opened a gorgeous flower to greet me, and there are a few more buds yet to open. (last year there were no flowers at all) There was, rather astonishingly, a hummingbird in the back yard, hanging around the comfrey blossoms; had no idea that comfrey was something they found attractive.

"The universe loves me and wants me to be happy..." such is a touchstone of dear M, who has taken this as a sort of chosen point of view, perhaps akin to the 23 Enigma. Though wishing for a chance to ask him how to get some of that to rub off on me, this week also brought a rather more than just serendipitous bits of good fortune, so girl is now wondering if part of the way to make it happen is to pay attention, to choose where to focus at any given time. Of course, that sounds a lot easier than it is to do, but girl has been practicing this for years, and fully expects to continue practicing it for as long as there is breath in my body...

I won an online giveaway from Shams over at Communing with Fabric; my name came out first of the over a hundred folks who entered! I won a set of black and white stripey zippers! Not sure if I will make a moto jacket, or some sort of really radical pinafore... shall have to wait and see what the zippers are like in the non-virtual world. If the zippers are super sturdy then a jacket would be a good option, if they are somewhat softer/more flexible then a zip down the front pinafore might be fun. When they arrive, will have to see what if any of my current fabrics will be friends with these...

Last week the Great Experiment in Fermentation began! Last month, after over a half-century of disliking pickles, my tastebuds somehow unaccountably changed. Possibly due to the ongoing acupuncture, and probably due to the amazing lacto-fermented goodness of my friends homemade pickles. Sooooo... when I found that New Seasons happened to have some organic pickling cucumbers in the produce aisle, it was an irresistible option. They came home with me, and after consulting with Cathy up in OlyWa for suitable instructions, some brine was made, garlics peeled, and along with some dill and peppercorns, a jar of protopickles took up residence atop the fridge (my fridge is wee, being only about countertop height) I was a bit concerned about how poorly the glass tumbler I stuffed in the jar was functioning as a weight, the cucumbers were managing to float to the surface, which is Not Advisable; they should be entirely submerged in the brine, to keep the good bacteria happy and prevent bad moldy bacteria.

The next day, after proud picklish pictures on FB, my friend Kada had a lot of useful comments, a link to her website, and also mailed me a present of two airlocks and corks, with a lid cut to hold one set. In addition, a trip to Goodwill yielded a lidded glass cookie jar, and a suitable pyrex plate to use as a weight, so another batch of pickles was started... This means yours truly is doing SCIENCE!! (actually the compare and contrast thing, doing one batch in the airlock halfgallon mason jar and one in the open top cookiejar.)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine shakes out her holiday haversack and between the work-at-home weekend manages to get a few additional bits and bobs dealt with and found again...

Have been able to deal with an assortment of small but necessary tasks that have been put off, like replacing the burnt out light bulbs in two of the overhead fixtures, and acquired a springfit curtain rod to hold the still necessary mylar bubblepak in the one east window. Once the weather cools, the mylar can be set aside for the winter and replaced with two layers of transparent bubblepak, which can have a rod pocket made from clear packing tape. The benefit of starting to move boxes and bags of STUFF around, and look through some of them is that there are many many good and useful things I've misplaced that may be found (hello there little data cards, howdy grey apron-smock, hi there sweet little cloak clasp...); the drawback is that the spiders that are endemic to living in the Pacific Northwest, that peacefully mind their own business out of sight, are not at all a treat for this somewhat arachnophobic gal when they suddenly scuttle about near my own loosely-clad-due-to-still-summertime-heat self, who just tore the walls off their house behind a box.

Due to actual work, there has not been as much sewing for me this week, but with luck the remaining gores on the EF top will be completed soon. Girl must say that interminable tiny handstitching in black on black is somewhat grueling, and will be glad when this particular project is done and wearable. Have been spending the stitchery time cogitating about the other needful wardrobe pieces. Either the grey popover dress or the grey corduroy pinafore might get a pomegranate reverse applique neckline. Other than that, I've been really thinking about an autumnal jacket, if there is enough of the brown twill for that and an overall pinafore (if there isn't I certainly have enough bits of melton cloth scraps that a jacket might be pieced from...) Considering a cross between a jean-jacket style and a moto-jacket style, since I have the former as a TNT pattern, and it would not be that difficult to draft an extension to the center front edges to give the angled zippered closure of a "moto". Of course, that would also require actually purchasing a set of zippers, whereas I already have the suitable tack buttons. No progress has been made on the bra-sewing front (ha ha!) other than the actually fitting one that I purchased from the Pencil Test before the wedding shindig. Generating my own pattern without having an actual garment that fit well was making me a bit crazy; I managed to get the volume more or less correct, but the contours were, to say the least, rather odd, and no gal wants oddly shaped tatas... So hopefully another session with the pins and the foamcore will yield a more useful pattern.

There is a sort of apple tree in my backyard, that is mostly watersprouts, with apparently one remaining branch from the grafts that were original to the tree. This year there were apples on that branch, and I dutifully removed most of the wee little things as I'd been told to do, to make room for the actual apples to grow... then I promptly forgot about it again. Went out in the yard today to hang up laundry and saw that there were real redstripey apples there. I shoved my way through the undergrowth to pick two. They smelled apple-y, and appeared to be ripe, as well as obviously been found by insects... I washed them and carefully cut away the good parts. They are tasty, for a tree I have done nothing at all to other than cut most of it down for being diseased. I suspect that if I had been clever enough to tie little mesh bags over the apples, that the bugs wouldn't have infested them. I also suspect that it might be possible to prune way back the unproductive growth and maybe graft in a few edible apple varieties at some point... (must remember to ask Mr Dawson about that sometime) So tonight my evening snack is courtesy of the backyard

Japanese indigo fragment that hangs on the outside of the little room of necessity here at Acorn Cottage