Sunday, September 30, 2018

metallic embroidery

in which our plucky heroine starts something new...

Took some time on Saturday to start on the embroidery project for my friend Marya. She is being elevated to the Order of the Laurel in December, and many of her friends are working on projects to add splendor to her day. She is focused for the ceremony on "12th-ish c Russian (Fancy)", which means multiple layers of decorated garments.

My volunteer contribution is to embroider the cuffs, collar, and neckline trim bands for the rubakha, which is going to be a white silk underdress with red embroidered silk trim. It feels good to have some transit handwork again, though it will be weeks of part time effort before the embroidery is completed. Ordered some additional metallic DMC thread, since that isn't something I normally use. It is quite lovely and bright gold, but is rather a challenge to embroider with, being "springy" and somewhat delicate. But then, this is not everyday clothing being created.
For the cuff pattern, Marya sent me a picture of the archeological line drawings, which were then resized to match the stated actual size. Most handily, the actual size also was just about right for a wrist cuff, though Marya being somewhat more slender than yours truly Little Teapot, we decided to remove one small motif from the pattern...

paper pattern wrapped around my wrist

Saturday, September 29, 2018

frustration, possibly averted

in which our plucky heroine searches fruitlessly...

In my next life, I will be a machinist. Always finding that there are needful odd hardware bits is frustrating... So, the beloved Ironrite Health Chair had one of the four seat bolts snap in half. After almost seventy years, things wear out. Didn't occur to me that it would be so very difficult to find a suitable replacement.

Have tried local hardware stores, Winks, and combing through Lee Valley Hardware catalog... none of them have the right sort of (carriage) bolt I need to replace. Either the bolt head is too narrow, or the shaft diameter is too wide. This bolt holds a wooden seat to steel chair legs, so the tolerances are not highly flexible. Can't contact manufacturer because the chair is, like, 70 years old.

This is the broken bolt, and the dimensions; it seems to me that the most important dimensions are the diameter of the bolt shaft, which needs to fit through the steel leg assembly, and the width/height of the bolt head, which forms a kind of integral washer. The 1/4" carriage bolts I have found so far have heads that are 1/2" or less in diameter, not 1/4". Adding a washer for greater width is my default solution, but not ideal.

Decided that the hive mind aka FB might have information I do not, such as other possible places to query. I did get a few more specialty hardware options to check out, but the Truly Useful bit was that my friend Stuart very cleverly figured out that what I was looking for was actually called a "step bolt", and not a carriage bolt: "Step Bolts - Has a square neck similar to a Carriage Bolt but has wider round head, and lower profile." A vital part of being able to find things is knowing the EXACT name they are called by!
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Part of my initial trip to the local hardware store was to get a hose clamp to better attach the homemade reflector shield to the LED sewing machine light. After figuring out that a piece of wire could be used to measure the size needed, it seemed that simply a twist of wire could clamp it in place, without needing any other more elaborate structure. Goodness knows that there is plenty of scraps of wire in the workroom! Sometimes the obvious just takes a while to become visible.
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September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loopbag to Goodwill
2 fig sauce many pokey wiresbutterfly chair
3 seraphdye yarn orange first leaf raking
4 charter # 11
sewing machine light
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5 hat for Thorabroken warp thread -
6 applesauce x -
7 plum sauce x x
8 Awesome Sauce x x
9 jacquard denim pinafore
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Thursday, September 27, 2018

discretion is the better part of valor

in which our plucky heroine is extremely vexed...

worst Tri-Met bus scene so far (this year)... a man (not young, not old, sort of middle aged white guy, hard luck type) gets on the bus carrying a sizeable snapped-open pocket knife, blade pointing out, in one hand and a box in the other... driver lets him on. After said guy passes where I am sitting, I go up and ask the driver, who says that he thought the guy was holding a cup of coffee. Driver goes back to check and comes back and tells me that since the knife blade is not over 3 1/2" long, it is acceptable. I decide to get off and wait for the next bus.

It was particularly disturbing because it was right at the Hollywood Transit Station, near where the stabbing knife murders took place last year...

I call Tri-Met and try and find out if openly carrying an OPEN knife blade, point out, on transit, is in fact allowed and approved. I am told that unless the person is actively threatening people it is not "forbidden"!?!! (What if the person stumbles, or the bus makes a quick stop, or goes over a bump?) I understand that it is acceptable to openly carry knifes in public, and have no problem with that, but always thought that meant openly visible but safely closed. The one time years ago I opened a pocket knife in public to show a friend (not while riding on the bus), all my other friends jumped all over me about how that was illegal to do and I could be arrested for "brandishing" a knife in public. I am really confused.

I tried phoning the non-emergency police information line, and got no help at all other than "look it up on Google" which has not been helpful. There is information about concealed carry of knifes in Oregon, but nothing about open knives in public in an unsafe way. Honestly, sometimes I plum hate having to ride on transit.

Seriously, I am not the best at it, but I try and maintain a semblance of situational awareness. No one else apparently noticed, including the driver... This makes three times this year I have felt it to be safer to simply exit transit and wait for the next one, even at the cost of being late and missing an appointment. Times are getting weirder and more disturbing, and no, I don't think I am being paranoid

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

hats and other haberdashery

In which our plucky heroine cogitates on durability and etymology...

Did you know, that haberdasher once referred to one who deals in hats and caps, as well as the small goods and notions that it currently references? Perhaps Acorn Cottage ought be called a haberdashery as well as an artisanry...

In taking photos of my new pinafore, my denim sunhat appeared rather faded. On perusing the history of my sewing projects, that hat is a bit more than eight years old, being first made for Me-Made-May back in 2010. My other fabric hat, the brown one trimmed in black, is also nowhere near new, as it was made back in 2012.

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as they looked when new...

My brown hat has faded to more of a cafe au lait color now, the feathered pin (from a long-ago Oregon Country Fair back in the 80's) has gradually lost most of the feathers, and my denim hat is much faded and has had the brim reinforced with rows of machine stitches, (and is still a lot more floppy than in its heyday). While they are both still entirely wearable, impressive given how often they are worn, and how many years they have been in service, it might be enjoyable to give some thought to a new hat or two, and what pieces in the fabric resource center might be best for such a project. Hats don't take vast amounts of fabric or time to create, and are a staple accessory in my wardrobe.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine has been busy...

set up the tabletweaving loom with the Laurel pattern, to make an elevation gift for Marya... This is the project that needed the dyed orange wool yarn. Width is about 1".

The turning pattern for this is only slightly irregular: the border cards keep turning one way, which helps keep the band smooth, and helps ensure nice neat selvages; most of the cards turn four forward, four backward, but there are two that never reverse, and also just keep turning one way.
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stitched the pocket on the bodice of my new pinafore, the last step...
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This is the upper bodice pocket. I have added these to some of my pinafores, and while they never get loaded with things (like my skirt pockets do) every once in a while it is handy to have a place to hold a needful note and not lose it, like those little medical appointment cards, or a snipped-from-fabric bit to match thread at the store... A pressing template, measured out and cut from a manila file folder, helps get neatly turned curves along the lower edge before the pocket is stitched in place.


Here is a closer view of the center back, showing how close the shoulder straps are to the center back. This helps keep the straps actually on my shoulders, which are both narrow and sloping. It also shows where the straps are flat fell seamed to the body of the pinafore.

The new pinafore quite resembles my original sketch, aside from my decided to use the precious multicolor ikat (instead of the blue/tan ikat) for binding. As well, the style is just slightly different than my usual pinafore pattern, which is a treat...

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September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loopbag to Goodwill
2 fig sauce many pokey wiresbutterfly chair
3 seraphdye yarn orange first leaf raking
4 charter # 11
x -
5 hat for Thorax -
6 applesauce x -
7 plum sauce x x
8 Awesome Sauce x x
9 jacquard denim pinafore
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Saturday, September 22, 2018

improvisational sewing and other Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine has no idea what she is doing...

at least, not to start with.

In the beginning, there was a concept: another denim pinafore, but this one slightly less basic, but still very versatile. Instead of smooth plain dark denim, the fabric is a denim jacquard, originally a thrifted duvet cover, with an overall abstract foliate scrollwork design. My current fascination for turquoise/teal as an accent color means that using a precious piece of multicolor handwoven ikat for the narrow edge bindings will let the binding be a transition as well as a memorial (every time I see that fabric, I remember my dear late friend Larissa, and the trip we took to the Puyallup Sewing Expo).

There was also a challenge: at some point in the past, I had cut from the denim jacquard a Theoretical Pinafore, but not using the current pattern. There were Viking Apron Dress style pieces, and a few large-ish scraps. This was challenging in two major ways. One was that it would be impossible to modify the pattern pieces to create my favorite pockets, which are constructed as part of the skirt gores, and require both more fabric, and, well, the pinafore skirt to have gores! The other was to figure out a tidy way to attach the shoulder strap bands to the body of the pinafore, since loops and Viking brooches was not a practical idea for everyday wear!

After several possible options for pockets stalled my progress, the simplest option seemed the best, patch pockets not double welt pockets. I've never made double welt pockets, and wanted pocket openings with a long diagonal curve, which would be complicated to get right. That is a technique to try in the future, but with hard fabric limits, I wanted a sure thing. The patch pockets with a curved top edge looked great, and once stitched down, matched my image of the future garment.

One minor issue was that the entire pinafore was too wide by at least six inches, rather a bit in excess of "comfortable not snug". Six evenly spaced inch wide pleats from the top edge to the waist at the center front added some shaping in the bodice while allowing the pinafore to skim over my belly. For the shoulder straps, flat felling the narrow strips to the bodice was much simpler than my other ideas, such as spaghetti straps, or straps inset between a facing and the bodice. Plus, it turned out that there was enough of the ikat bias to neatly bind the neckline and armscye openings, which strengthened the edges as well as adding beauty.

Overall, I am quite pleased with the new pinafore, as it is subtly different than my other pinafores, but still obviously in my own style.
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Last year I planted garlic at the beginning of November. It all grew, but would have done better (had more cloves each) if planted earlier. This means that I need to somehow create a new planting place for the garlics, as I believe it is better to not replant alliums where they grew the previous year. Indeed, it would be good to create, eventually, four Useful Raised Garden Beds, so I can practice a form of backyard crop rotation. Now to figure out HOW to use what is already here to make something suitable, and Where To Put It... Landscape design is not my forte.
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Four pounds of plums cut up and macerating prior to making plum sauce tomorrow tonight, veggies from farmers market acquired (alas, there will be no more local organic iceberg lettuce this year, it is a very seasonal treat) Final pocket for new pinafore shaped and cooling on the ironing board prior to stitching in place, warp for new tablet weaving combed out (my least favorite part of tablet weaving and ready to attach to the weaving frame. One rack of dishes put away and the second rack about to be washed. Trying to decide which additional tasks needs done soonest, probably watering the baby trees, then washing dishes. Will probably do some studio tidying after dinner, preparing for metalwork tomorrow set up tablet weaving loom, and continue cooking down the plum sauce tonight...

Friday, September 21, 2018

eye spy

in which our plucky heroine actually doesn't spy anything at all...

Eye exam this afternoon at 2 PM. Almost five hours later and I still can barely see, (have the text size all the way up on the computer, and the brightness all the way down). Pupils still look like I have done way too much funners. Cannot read, or do handcraft, or work. I hate eye exam day. I should be able to focus my eyes by sometime midday tomorrow.

...and so, decided that processing the Awesome Sauce that was in the fridge required not much in the way of clear eyesight, so now there are nine 8 oz jars cooling on the counter instead of two large containers taking up fridge space. Can't see well enough to sew or read, but I can boil water like a boss! The actual cooking happened earlier in the week

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

to dye for

in which our plucky heroine gets experimental...

Since there was no orange wool for my next tablet weaving project, it seemed like a fun idea to try using food color and vinegar to dye wool yarn. After all, there was both a box of gel-paste food coloring and a jug of vinegar in the pantry... 

First step, according to online tutorials, is to soak the yarn in a water/vinegar mixture for at least 30 minutes. Started on Tuesday evening, and continued the project this morning. The now thoroughly hydrated yarn is visible in the Pyrex measuring cup:
The food colorings are much stronger than the little jars of liquid from the grocery store. Gel paste is used to get vivid colors in foods, and is usually found in either baking supply shops or craft stores that sell cake decorating supplies. It didn't take very many times dipping the toothpick ends into the gel and stirring it into the custard cup of hot water to get a deep orange liquid.

Since both food coloring and vinegar are food safe, I had no qualms about using my regular cooking pans for this experiment. The dye, added first to the saucepan of hot water/vinegar mixture, looked a nice medium carrot color, just the thing to set off the olive-y green motifs on the weaving-to-be. The presoaked yarn took up the dye really quickly, necessitating some careful movement of the fibers in the dyebath, and adding a little extra food coloring to get as even color as possible.
Once all the dye is transfered to the wool, the liquid remaining in the saucepan turned clear again. It seemed like a good idea to just let the yarn cool down in the acidulated water while errands and a trip to get an eye exam took up the middle of the day. Once home again, and the yarn cooled, it didn't take much to rinse out any excess dye, and the now much more colorful yarn was draped over the kitchen towel rod to dry...
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September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loopbag to Goodwill
2 fig sauce many pokey wiresbutterfly chair
3 seraphdye yarn orange first leaf raking
4 charter # 11
x -
5 hat for Thorax -
6 applesauce x -
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

a hat for Thora

in which our plucky heroine turns milliner...

I love making hats. This pillbox hat for Thora starts with some layers of canvas and heavy interfacing, stitched together. Then I apply the decorative fabric by hand, piece by piece

The navy diamond-patterned fabric, when cut on the bias, makes tiny squares on the binding around the lower edge of the hat

Those squares are a good guideline for evenly sewing on many tiny freshwater pearls as a lower border...

The very last step is to stitch the top of the hat to the band, once they each been covered in the final fabric and completely lined...

Thora's new hat, ready for wear at some special SCA events this winter... I am still considering adding some metallic trim couched around the join between the top and the band.
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September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loopbag to Goodwill
2 fig sauce many pokey wiresbutterfly chair
3 seraphx first leaf raking
4 charter # 11
x -
5 hat for Thorax -
6 applesauce x -
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, September 17, 2018

Monday media and music

in which our plucky heroine takes a step backward to catch up later...

There was a comprehensive blog post about all the things Young Heather and I did this weekend, and with one accidental keyboard tap it vanished into the electronic aether... so instead, here is something from the Northern Flyway:

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

wishful Wednesday - return of the rain

in which our plucky heroine is a little damp...

I am always wishing for the kind of grey damp days that are considered characteristic of the PNW, though missing for months and months of long hot sunny summertime. Today, we got rain, for the second time this month. Not just the usual soft misty-moisty rain, but great thumping beat-on-the-ground fill-up-the-street rain, complete with thunder and everything!
I actually got soaked to the skin walking home from the bus stop. Still very glad that we got the rain, we need it, the plants need it, and  the world feels more balanced when water falls from the sky.


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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine breathes a sigh of relief...

Home now after dental appointment #1... I survived. After consultation with both my dental student and the supervising dental instructor, we decided to go with the addition of nitrous gas for during the novacaine injection, and that really seemed to help me to separate from the fear part. Rather like " over here is the part that is terrified", and "over here in the other half, here is the part that is calm".

I had no idea what to expect, and was imagining it would be more of a "drugged" feeling, (especially after being read the list of possible side effect reactions, of which I had basically none at all) but instead it felt like a greater ability to cope?! Plus the supervising dentist was really nice and she held my hand during the part I was worried about, (while the dental student gave me the injection).

Now I am super tired, not in much pain at all, and am thinking about taking took a four hour nap to make up for all the sleep I didn't get last night. This gives me hope that with time and effort I will have a better strategy to deal with being phobic about mouth anaesthesia and other dental activity. And, thankfully, I don't need to go back for another two weeks...
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I had no idea that this lovely Richard Shindell song, (which he posted a new live version from his home in Buenos Aires, today on FB) was written after 9/11 and the whole first half of the song is about that, a taxi driver driving all that day, with the meter off, just getting people where they needed to go...

I couldn't link to the FB post, so here is a different recording...
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last week when Poni and I went to Ranch Market 99 for dim sum after my acupuncture appointement, I also purchased a wee little bamboo steamer from the housewares section. It is only about six inches across, fits neatly on one of my little saucepans, and works as well for just steaming some veggies as it does for heating up siu mai...
Romano beans from the farmers market
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Monday, September 10, 2018

Monday musings

in which our plucky heroine does her best...

... and is grateful for finding her pool locker padlock again, so that visits to the pool can continue, a tiny short-term pleasure of release from gravity
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Tomorrow I have to go to the dentist. I am ashamed of my fear. Adults should be beyond that, and indeed as a child I had no real fear of the dentist at all. But the combination of some Very Bad experiences as a young adult and the shame of allowing my fear to keep me from seeking preventative care, has caused me to need much worse than the ordinary unpleasantness. It makes it much worse that the chairs at the new dental school building are so terribly painful, even when I am doing well, and now with my back so very unhappy, I don't know if I will be able to cope. And surely all this worrying ahead of time is doing me no good at all...
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Yesterday I turned my 1/3 yard of precious multicolor ikat into yards of bias trim. I then made a manila template for a differently shaped patch pocket, cut out the pockets for my new pinafore, stitched the binding to the upper edges, and carefully pressed the seam allowances under using the manila template. Leaving the pockets to sit on the ironing board overnight to cool means that they will be much easier to handle when I go to apply them to the pinafore, as it gives the folded edges a chance to "set" in their new shape.

The curved upper edge is something I really like about my usual pinafore pockets but I had been mulling over how to make with patch pockets. Prior to this brainstorm my best idea was to make curved double welt pockets, which seemed both difficult and excessive for a pinafore. (still want to learn how to make them, but not right now with the minimal brain that pain and medication have left me temporarily... stupid back is stupid)
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charter painting seems to be the only really productive thing I am managing to do right now, as it can be worked on in dribs and drabs between appointments and mandatory sleeping enforced by my medication. For charter # 11, I've chosen a limited range of colors, inspired by this chart of plausible Viking Age pigments
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Just a moderate amount of detail really makes a huge difference in how finished an image looks, before and after adding red fine-line details. And the finished charter:
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September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loop-
2 fig sauce x-
3 seraphx -
4 charter # 11
x -
5 xx -
6 x x -
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine contemplates gratitude...

As an antidote to my frustration over ongoing health issues, a cranky back that is slow to recover, various chronic problems that have all flared up seemingly at once, and deep blue feelings of despair, I offer up the memory of kindness, connection, and creativity -

The tomatoes, resting in the freezer temporarily, remind me that my neighbors are also most kind and generous; when I pick plums from the plum thicket tomorrow, half of them are going to Karla. I may have been a trifle enthusiastic at the farmers market... this is enough peppers for at least four batches of Awesome Sauce! Have not yet actually weighed the tomatoes I was given, but with luck my pantry shelves will be full of homemade condiments soon

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Over Labor Day last weekend three friends (Leah, Randall, and Ursel) came to visit me for the afternoon, and there was a great feeling of peaceful creativity here, as we discussed, drew, researched and practiced calligraphy. And earlier this Saturday afternoon, Heather and Ellie came by to bring me lunch and stayed for a visit. I was able to give Ellie the colorful yarn and knitting needles gift, and also do some planning with Heather for the upcoming feast and dancing season... we have somewhat delightfully grandiose plans for some heraldic embellishment of the block-printed variety on their SCA clothing I will be making this autumn..
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rather than faffing about all weekend and getting nowhere, I have decided to go ahead stitching up the denim jacquard pinafore that has most of the pieces already cut out. I'd been putting this one off for months because I thought I would need to do double welt pockets (which I've not ever done before) but I suddenly realised this afternoon I could get a similar linear effect by cutting the top edge of the patch pockets in a curve and binding it. Still experimental, still a new if minor change-up, but the fabric will serve me better as a garment than sitting on the shelf unsewn! I have two different subtle pieces of ikat, a darker one I intend to use for bindings, and a lighter one that includes bits of teal and brown which will be a band along the hemline, to add just a bit of length and some additional weight to the hem

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Big Red

in which our plucky heroine remembers an aphorism...

Long ago when rocks were soft and our plucky heroine was still a teen and away at college, my 2-D design teacher, Miss Hansen, told us: "if you can't make it good make it big... if you can't make it big, make it red."

Two of my generous neighbors both shared their garden bounty with me, and the lovely nightshade fruits are now in the freezer, aside from the ones that were immediately eaten. Nothing compares to homegrown sun ripe tomatoes!

The ones in the freezer will be transmogrified into Awesome Sauce when my cranky back is up for a bout of preserving. Freezing them first not only keeps them sound until I can get to them, but also saves the step of blanching to remove the skins, as the skins slip off easy-peasy if you catch them at just the right stage of thaw.

One especial tomato was a behemoth! At just about 800g all on its own, it is enough to make one recipe of Awesome Sauce all by itself



Monday, September 3, 2018

gemstones and jewlery and pearls, oh my...

in which our plucky heroine finishes another charter...

Haven't been accomplishing much in the last week due to back pain, but worked on in bits and pieces, this most recent charter was a good opportunity to practice painting transparent gemstones, and it was pretty challenging. I first began by looking at some of the original manuscript images that this design was based on, to gather ideas about both potential colors and about how the painting of gems was handled in that time period. This manuscript page was very inspiring as to both of those aspects, and this page gave me additional ideas about the depiction of jewelry. It is always very helpful when there is some indication about where the artist was looking when they created the charter master image, and this charter said on the back "exemplar, Book of Hours, Belgium, Bruges, ca 1515", which gave me terms to search online for images...

  . 
The first step was to paint in the narrow edge borders, the base layer of paint on the metal areas of the jewlery, and the solid background, adding in some shadowing as seemed common in this style, which gives the flat page additional illusion of dimension, as if the artifacts and gems are in a sort of display case.. After speaking with my friend and scribal mentor Leah, I think that should I do another charter or scroll in this style, I will be even more robust with my shadowing in the future.

Then, painting in all the pearls, in their various sizes... I had worked out a simple method in a previous original scroll that included a lot of Byzantine imagery, which at the minimum, calls for only three steps: painting the base color (a medium light tone circle) painting in the shadow (a slightly darker crescent) and painting in the highlight (a white dot) It rather astonishes me how these three simple shaped combined create the effect of a rounded pearl... Of course, it is possible to do much more with shading and gradations of color, but given the constraint of charter painting, this works very well indeed...

Once the pearls were painted in, the last (and most challenging) part of the charter was choosing the colors and painting in all the other jewelry pieces.  My hope is to be able to teach others about painting gems, pearls, and jewlery, so getting good practice at various shapes was very useful... Again, looking at actual manuscript pages and seeing how the artists of the time created that illusion is most educational...

Here the idea was to portray an enameled jewel, set with a emerald green transparent stone. I am most pleased with how the stone really looks transparent.


getting the shading to work on the heart shaped red "coral" stones was very difficult, I actually repainted them several times, I'm not perfectly happy with them, but this is the best I can do at the current time...

The large transparent "amber" cabachons are probably what I am happiest with on this whole charter. A gradation of four colors, from pale yellow, through deep yellow, orange, and finally a little tinge of red really worked well, and I managed to get the highlights close to just right.

The most critical thing in painting gems and jewelry, or in any manuscript painting in general, is to carefully think about where your imaginary light source is located, and to place your highlights and shadows accordingly. Remembering this will help create work that feels satisfyingly "right" in subtle ways, particularly where the illusion of dimension is being created. In this charter, the imaginary light source is in the upper left, and so all the highlights are also in the upper left, and all the shadows towards the lower right.

The finished charter, is, as is always my intention, one that I myself would be pleased to have on my own wall, and I hope that whoever receives it for their Award of Arms will also be pleased...


Sunday, September 2, 2018

better living through chemistry...

in which our plucky heroine has lost the better part of a week...

The combination of prescribed muscle relaxant and TENS unit and acupuncture is having an effect, as there is somewhat less back pain. I have slept so very much, due to the medication, that I may actually be well rested for a change, with a concomitant result that not a lot else happened around the homeplace, since for an entire week I have basically slept when I was not going to medical appointments.
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My chickens are gone - I sent them away, as caring for them was almost beyond my strength. They have gone back to the place that raised them, and if/when I recover from this, I can get them returned to me. Without them the daily routine feels very weird, like after a housemate has left, the circular round of the day is slightly disrupted. Still, it is a relief not to have to drag myself out to the henyard several times a day, or figure out how I am going to manage to extricate their food from the safe-from-rodents bin it is usually kept in. (I sent the new bag of hen chow off with them, since sans hens I have no need of letting their food go stale when it could feed them and hopefully be of use to Tonya the henkeeper)
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Just before everything went south, I volunteered to be part of a group doing a scribal project... The assignment was to paint "{fieldless} a seraph proper", no other information given. The project is intended to show "that different artists are going to render a piece of art differently, and that the [heraldic] blazon remains the same."

Well, first off, I had to go look up what a seraph looks like! Okay, it is basically a child's head surrounded by six wings... I did a few quick sketches, and then drew out the design on a small piece of bristol board

Once the design has been inked in as an outline, I began to paint, starting with the face. Somewhere in my internet searches, I read that the child's head often had red hair... not sure how accurate it was, but the idea of a little ginger seraph amused me...

gradually filling in the wings as well, with a gradation of color. Hmmm... something about the wing edges looks more like a cephalopod... still need to put in the details on the upper edge of the wings, which will transform them from tentacles to peacock feathers... I'm using this medieval mosaic as an inspiration for the wings

...and the final effect with the mica Finetec paint used for the feather vanes. I am right pleased with how detailed* I was able to make the
metallic linework, by carefully holding the brush so that just the very brush tip was touching the surface.
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Had two acupuncture treatment last week, and while I am nowhere near recovered, there was some noticeable improvement between Monday and Thursday. Tullia was able to actually get some gentle movement in my back without me crying in pain... I didn't know we had a Ranch Market 99 here in the metro area; Poni and I went there after acupuncture on Thursday, and had lunch from the "dim sum cafeteria line", which was both inexpensive and delicious. It is now on my roster of "local large asian supermarkets" along with Uwajimaya, Fubonn, and Hong Fat. Each one has a slightly different mixture of which foodstuff products they carry, so is good to know about all of them.
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September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 charter # 10 bathrobe hang-loop-
2 fig sauce x-
3 seraphx -
4 x
x -
5 xx -
6 x x -
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x
x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

* this small image can be clicked to enlarge, to show a closer view of the detailed wing feather vanes... actual size of the painting is only 3 3/4" tall -