Tuesday, January 28, 2020

not a morning person at all...

in which our plucky heroine has an odd sort of day...

woke up hours earlier than usual, to catch the bus to the South waterfront where the dental school is, so I slept poorly, with one ear cocked for the alarm, and strange sad nightmares of desolation and rejection. I wasn't my usual cheerful morning self, but then I've not been for a while now. That said, once I was up and moving and out the door walking to the bus the cobwebby dreamlands blew away in the rain and wind.

spent the morning at the dentist. Aside from my wonky gums, which are in the queue to have scary surgery later this year, my teeth are basically no worse than they were the last exam. There are areas to keep watch on, and I got some advice, but basically, keep on with the diligent care I am currently doing...
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spent the afternoon doing the edition of "valentine" prints that I plan on sending to the Cascade Print Exchange. Decided that just using the stamp pad looked wrong, so I printed them with red acrylic paint instead. It took longer than I expected, as each one needed things written on the front, and then different things written on the back. The worst was that I need to come up with an artist "bio/resume", which I don't have. Chatted with a few friends and got some ideas, and will write something up tonight so I can mail the packet out tomorrow morning. It isn't a competition, and there is no financial cost other than a SASE with masses of postage attached, so we can all get a random assortment of other prints back again sometime later this spring, so it is a gentle way to stretch a bit in a different artistic direction.
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My friend Mea is folding cranes and collecting cranes to be sent to DC in June as part of the "Pilgrimage to Close the Camps"... folding cranes, which I learned in childhood, seems like a small but heartfelt thing to do, a prayer of hope and rememberance in these times of despair. There is information about how to fold the cranes, and how to string them into tsuru chains...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
attach bench pin bag to Goodwill
5 charter #1new turtleneck neckline -
6 Barbara mitts cuff repair
x
7 wool capelet x
x
8 wontons x x
9 15 valentine prints
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

today's gratitude - I am grateful for getting dental care in my childhood, without which my teeth would be in dire straits by now

Monday, January 27, 2020

Monday musings and media

in which our plucky heroine thinks more long thoughts...

This video essay touched my heart:

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EBT is difficult to stretch for a whole month, (much more so for the repeated reductions in the last few years to the monthly allotments.) Fortunately I know how to cook, and have a kitchen and food storage. I decided this weekend, when my EBT ran out till the fifth of next month, to try making do with food on hand, as a way of working with my stored and preserved food, to both practice austerity (useful in case of emergencies) and to use up some of the pantry stores to make room for this years new preserving projects. There will likely be some shifts in my daily meals, but it will be educational.
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
attach bench pin bag to Goodwill
5 charter #1new turtleneck neckline -
6 Barbara mitts x
x
7 wool capelet x
x
8 wontons 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

today's gratitude - I am grateful for Duchess D's "Buy Nothing" FB group, where recently someone was giving away a funky old dress form. It will eventually show up here at Acorn Cottage, and once I can get it cleaned up and repaired, it will make a great prop for photographing my sewing projects! I was just commenting online earlier this month about how I wished I had a dress form...

Sunday, January 26, 2020

恭禧发财 Year of the Metal Rat

in which our plucky heroine thinks long thoughts and eats pot stickers and wonton...

It is Lunar New Year, the year of the Rat, and I cooked up a panful of gyoza for Saturday dinner, as I had planned... going to make up cooked some five flavor eggplant with the ones I picked up on Friday, and put another tray full of gyoza in the freezer, this time shrimp instead of pork.

Sunday afternoon there was a temporary break in the rain, which made riding over to the local branch library fairly pleasant. Two of my books on hold were waiting for me, but the real reason I was there was the wonton workshop I had signed up for a while back.

The library workshop on Crispy Vegan Wontons sent us home with as many as we each were able to form in the class (14 in my case)... I hadn't been expecting to make things to take home, so wasn't really prepared (I'd have brought a container) - we were sent off with the wontons on a double paper plate, one beneath and one on top to protect them, which would work just fine in a car, but I was on my bike! I carefully wrapped the bundle in my scarf, and wedged it into my bike basket... it was a chilly and somewhat damp ride home as the rains were rolling back in, but the wontons and I both survived without mishap...

It turns out that cooking wonton is a snap! An inch of grapeseed oil in a small frying pan, a pair of chopsticks to turn them, and they cook in a few minutes per batch... I almost never fry things at home, because Acorn Cottage lacks a stove hood and vent, but wanted to try this. These are dry enough on the outside that there is not much in the way of splattering. I think that they would be a fun party treat...

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I am really struggling with isolation... some folks were going to come over on Saturday afternoon to do block carving with me. Even though no one else showed up, I spent the afternoon stamp carving anyway... I wanted to try a new soft cut material, and figured that making a valentine stamp was a good plan. I sponsored a valentine sekrit swap this year, and want to make postcards to send to all the participants.
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The stamp needs some additional work, as is normal for the first pass. The new material carves very easily, is a bit too soft for really fine details, and will definitely need a wooden backing. (It may be a good option for teaching block carving, particularly for people with less hand strength)

Anni pointed me to the Cascade Print Exchange, which sounds like fun; to get prints from other people, like back in the golden days of blogging, when there were some amazing swaps!
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Saturday was alarmingly warm for mid-January (as in people were sitting outside without coats, and I didn't need gloves) which made for pleasant bike riding. There were more citrus tasting demo things happening at the grocery, but I am still waiting on organic blood oranges and maybe seville oranges as well. Am tempted to try tangerine for marmalade. There was another shipment in of organic pommelo, so there will be another small batch of candied peel, all to be put aside for next years fruitcake. It was interesting to sniff the specialty citrus, like bergamot, and makrut lime, but since they weren't organic, there won't be any really odd marmalade this year. They did have organic "finger limes", which I have never seen before, but they are more for use as a garnish than an ingredient, and at almost 20$/lb, I left them there
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have almost finished cutting out the pieces for the flannel shirt... there was not really quite enough fabic, but I am going to try to eke out as much as I can manage, and then do things like the inner cuffs, the undercollar, and the inside yoke panel in a different but hopefully coordinating fabric. The shirt fabric is a lovely soft grey and black tiny "rectangular gingham" flannel, and I found enough scraps of some black with grey polkadots quilt cotton to use as accents.

If I only had another quarter yard of flannel all would have been enough, or if I had not decided to give it a hint of "shirt" detailing. But one of the things about having only a few basic TNT patterns is that it becomes irresistible to add small changes for variety sake, and also to learn new skills. While I am not going full on with a collar and stand, simply an open camp shirt type collar, I do want to try making a tower placket. (I have never made one in all my years of sewing).
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
attach bench pin bag to Goodwill
5 charter #1new turtleneck neckline -
6 Barbara mitts x
x
7 wool capelet x
x
8 wontons 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

today's gratitude - I am grateful to live in a place that has an assortment of specialty markets including asian markets both large and small, that allows me to indulge myself in the small luxury of cooking various kinds of foods that would otherwise be rare treats indeed

Saturday, January 25, 2020

turtleneck with a twist

in which our plucky heroine does some clever alteration...

though "love is not love which alters when it alteration finds", it seemed needful to change up the neckline of my striped hemp knit top, as I kept wishing that I'd originally made it with a turtleneck. But instead, I had made a rounded slightly scooped bound neckline, a bit too low for simply replacing the binding with a straight and wider band. Instead, remembering a Marcy Tilton neckband I read about ages ago, I decided to try making a twisted band.

Fortunately I still had some scraps of the hemp jersey from three years ago, and after measuring the neck opening, I cut a bias strip that length (plus a quarter inch seam allowance) and about eight inches wide. After seaming the short end making it into a tube, I folded the length in half, right sides on the outside, but then instead of simply pinning it evenly closed, I shifted the center back seamline offset about three inches from one another, and then carefully basted the edges together, maintaining the offset all the way around.

Were I to be doing this as part of new construction, I could then simply use the normal technique to attach the neckband, marking the quarters and the cross quarters on each, and then serging them in place. Instead, since the neckline was already finished with a narrow band, I used hand stitching "Alabama Chanin" style to stitch the new neckband to the older knit top. Sometimes I feel like I have more control using hand stitching.


The revised stripey top will be a little bit warmer to wear in the wintertime, which was my goal, as well as trying out a new-to-me technique, which worked successfully!

January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
attach bench pin bag to Goodwill
5 charter #1new turtleneck neckline -
6 Barbara mitts x
x
7 wool capelet 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

today's gratitude - I have a washing machine, which means that I needn't spend a huge chunk of time every week dedicated to laundry, and can, instead, fit it in amongst other tasks and travail...

Friday, January 24, 2020

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine continues efforts to be of good cheer, and focus on what has been going well ...

There was a small break in the cold rain and wind, so I headed over to H-Mart to try and get some more gyoza wrappers. While there, I couldn't resist the eggplant display; they had seven different varieties, and while it was no match for the Berkeley Bowl that shines in my memory, it was pretty excellent, and I brought home some small Japanese eggplant to make "5 flavor eggplant" this weekend.
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the wool/cashmere capelet is finished, I stitched trim around the lower edge to echo that in historical images; alternating hooks and eyes down the center front opening hold it closed... It is just as cozy for wearing around the house as I had envisioned.
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in the "you don't ask you don't get" mode, while at the pharmacy (where I also made the sad discovery that now that I am old, my formerly totally covered prescriptions all have co-pays) it occurred to me to ask about one of my meds, which I need to break in half since they don't make a low enough single dosage... they recently changed the generic they carry to a different manufacturer, and the "new" pills shatter instead of splitting, even with a "pill splitter"... so I asked if there was some way that they could get me the former generic instead of the new one. Turns out that is probably possible, and hopefully tomorrow I can pick up that prescription. Fingers crossed!
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... and in additional tiny good news, there is finally a sprout in the cilantro pot, almost three weeks after the seeds were planted!
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← a surprise gift from Rafny - measuring bowls! each one has an inner line, for an amount of half the capacity of the total bowl, which seems dang useful, particularly for times when making a "half recipe"... Plus they are even the sort of subtle blue that fits seamlessly into my kitchen aesthetic here at Acorn Cottage
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finished the handknit wool mitts for Barbara. I forgot that the wool was also superwash as well as merino, both aspects of yarn that are not my usual. Cannot do a felted splice, but the mitts are so very soft, which is what she asked for, and New England wintertime is not yet over...
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
attach bench pin bag to Goodwill
5 charter #1- -
6 Barbara mitts x
x
7 wool capelet 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

today's gratitude - I know how to cook, I have food to cook and a kitchen to cook in, and decades of experience have taught me how to cook things I like to eat. In addition, this month I have been doing better at eating up the leftovers.

Indeed I have been feeling very much like a kind of metaphorical eating up the leftovers in relation to my sewing - using the fabrics I collected over the years and turning them into a wardrobe I like to wear!

Monday, January 20, 2020

cancerversary

in which our plucky heroine looks back and a little forward...

eight bonus years in the bright world, and I never take it for granted:


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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
- -
5 charter #1- -
6 x 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

today's gratitude - I'm still alive. Eight years ago I was just waking up after some pretty scary surgery

Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday fragments

in which our plucky heroine is doing a bit better today, as long as I don't have to put on a hat or touch the back of my head. Washing my hair was an unpleasant surprise. My joints are still pretty sore, but definitely improving as well. Arnica is my friend.
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made progress on the grey wool capelet/gollar... I cut out the already modified pattern pieces, same as I used for the my rain capelet, but this time using a finely woven brushed grey herringbone wool for the outer layer instead of Goretex. For the inner layer, I looked through my shelf of melton cloth pieces, all of which are from the late lamented actual "mill ends" formerly available at a local fabric store years ago. I picked a deep chocolate brown, thinking that would be a great coordinate for a chunk of my wardrobe. I noticed that it felt different than most of the other melton, somehow "silkier"... which would make it feel wonderful against my neck... and then I noticed that it had a different mark on the selvedge:

Much to my surprise, I had a luscious piece of cashmere from Amicale Fabrics! Since the piece wasn't big enough to make an entire garment, I feel no qualms about using it to line my capelet; it will bring me a great deal of everyday pleasure as well as warmth. I've stitched the lining pieces together, and stitched the outer layer pieces together. Today, I've taken some time to stitch the black wool edge binding in place, and once that is done, and some heavy hooks and eyes added to the center front, it will be a great warm piece to wear around the Very Chilly house this winter.
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After experimentation this year, have decided that best for candied peel IMHO is pommelo... the extra thick peel is also extra absorbent, and makes the most succulent confection. The pommelo are all gone from the store now, so I will make some grapefruit to go with the other candied peel. Half of what I make will go to my dad, and the rest will be put aside for next years fruitcake.
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My new automatic LED herb planter is beginning to function. Small basil plant is from Trader Joe's, and the arugula seeds are sprouting! I think that I might need a new packet of cilantro seeds though, since they are not doing anything (they were from 2018)

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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced bag to Goodwill
4 Wanda ring
- -
5 charter #1- -
6 x 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

today's gratitude - random fabric stash wonder... cashmere!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

I don't bounce

in which our plucky heroine has a mishap...

Well that was unfortunate, though it could have been worse. Somehow while sitting at my worktable, I turned and ended up sliding off my chair and onto the floor, falling a bit twisted and walloping my head on the shelves behind! I think I had turned to get the chuck key to the flex shaft, which had fallen to the floor, little knowing that I would soon follow it! Now I am rather sore in all my joints, with a bruise on the back of my head, and have been using arnica and other remedies for clumsy foolish folks. Hopefully in a few days I will feel like myself again
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I have cut out the pieces for my grey shoulder wool shoulder capelet, and started looking at and measuring the pattern pieces for my grey canvas chore coat, both for SWAP. The capelet will be a Very Fast Sew, as I've already used the same pattern for my rain capelet, and am quite satisfied with both how it fits and with how it looks. The chore coat, (Frenchglen Barn Jacket however, will definitely require at least one go round with muslin, as my size and proportion are not matched well with the pattern. I'm using the measurements from my worn out venerable rain jacket as a guide to proportioning the new pattern, as the former is a good size for wearing in transitional seasons and over a knitted cardigan in the winter.
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First time in decades I created a ring setting, to re-set this medieval Pelican artifact. Signet is 7mm in diameter, ring is sterling silver, size 7. The artifact had been poorly welded? to a ring shank. which failed; the current owner asked me to create a setting that would hold the signet more securely, and allow it to be used (if desired) as a seal... my confidence in my abilities is restored, and my client is quite pleased with the now wearable ring... as two of my goals for the year are to close open loops and to increase my studio time on metalwork/enameling efforts, it feels like a good start to the year so far...

removed the old ring shank, started a bezel setting


new ring setting ready to assemble
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced -
4 Wanda ring
- -
5 charter #1- -
6 - -
-
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

today's gratitude - I'm sore, but nothing broken or torn

Friday, January 10, 2020

preservering

in which our plucky heroine remains under the weather...

Yesterday I must have overdone it a bit because today was mostly sleeping, getting up enough to make some sustaining food bits (broth, a scrambled egg, some kasha), and do a tiny bit of chores... I brought in the wheelie bins during a break in the weather, the rain and wind have been quite howling today.  Stitched the top button back on my everyday chopshop cardigan that Karen made for me which for some reason unknown to me has buttons that keep falling off... (since the buttons themselves are smooth wood, and the button loops are wool, and they are stitched on with Extra Sturdy carpet and button thread one would think the buttons would be fixed for the ages)
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Part of my overdoing yesterday was a bus trip over to Trader Joes, where I picked up a wee little basil plant for the new indoor tabletop planter...  this afternoon I rummaged through my bag of seed packets, hopeful for cilantro and arugula seeds for the other two pots. There were actually a number of cilantro packets, but zip on the arugula. Am considering putting corn salad in the third pot instead for now, until a trip to the garden center can be arranged...
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Radio City Music Hall, 1980, Halloween night...
I was there... we danced in the aisles...

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Now that I'm done with various holiday sewing projects, and I've finished my Athena blouse, I'm turning my sewing focus to the canvas chore coat, which is intended to be part of both SWAP and 6PAC. My first two steps will be: scouring the resource shelves for something that is suitable for a muslin, and taking some relevant measurements from my current rain jacket. I'm certain that this pattern will need some fitting modification.
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blousebutton replaced -
4 -
- -
5 -- -
6 - -
-
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

today's gratitude - bright memories of past delights, and continued hope however foolish of future delight to hold in memory someday

just horsing around...

in which our plucky heroine finishes a new blouse...

Modified the Athena Blouse pattern (reshaped collar tips, added peplum, midlength sleeves with cuff bands) The antler buttons just seemed to fit with the colors of the ponies...
This blouse will be part of my Stitchers Guild SWAP 2020 sewing challenge, and my entry in The Sewing Place "Jungle January" contest. Yes, I know that ponies are not jungle animals, but I asked, and "animal print" was determined to include all animals...

My theme for SWAP 2020 is the song "One Misty Moisty Morning" by Steeleye Span. The last verse begins: "...Then lusty Ralph and Robin with many damsels gay, did ride on Roan and Dobbin to celebrate the day..." Roan and Dobbin are horse names, which is how I justify adding this patterned fabric to my SWAP collection

today's gratitude - I had a lovely sweet interaction while on the bus today, when I gestured to a little kiddo that there was room for her to sit next to her mom (who had left an empty seat between herself and myself), implying that it was actually okay to sit between me and her mom, if that was what she preferred instead of sitting next to her dad. There were smiles all around from both the parents. I like doing what I can to be a not-an-asshole-white-person.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

"horses blouse" project

in which our plucky heroine thinks critically...

Put in a bit more time over the last few days on the horses blouse, which is almost done. The pattern draft comes together neatly, and the instructions are superb. (The untimely death ten years ago of Fred Bloebaum was a great loss to the sewing community. I particularly appreciate the inset notes in the instructions about various details and tips for construction or pressing or marking. The shawl collar construction worked very well, but I am not entirely happy with the shape of the finished collar (no fault of the pattern) but the wide spreading shape doesn't suit my face, and the grain of the collar means that the horses on the collar are once again tilted.
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I reshaped that part of the collar to a scalloped and curved edge instead. Fortunately I had not yet stitched the collar facing down, so it only needed my making up a template, turning the facing/front inside out, and re-stitching and pressing. I am remembering now that way back when I made this pattern before, I made several variations on the collar shape. What is interesting to me is that I am becoming much clearer on what styles/colors/shapes appeal to me the most*, often before starting on a project, or in the middle when it is still possible to change, rather than sewing up something only for it to feel subtly wrong. Not to say that I am immune to wadders, but rather that they result from sewing or fitting fail, and not from poor design choices.
...and, in the end, it is sort of a wearable muslin, in that (while it is quite wearable and will coordinate well with all my pinafores) some significant modification was needed, and would probably do a bit more before making it up again. First off, I cut the blouse fabric an inch and a half too long, despite shortening the pattern beforehand. I no longer do a turned hem on blouses that will only be worn underneath pinafores, as since the hemline always remains unseen, simply serging the hem edge gives a flatter and faster edge treatment that is just as durable.

Also, the mostly straight up and down bodice ended up needing some additional hip width, and rather than fit in some godets, which would be most annoying to finish the points and edges, I decided to whack out as long a rectangle from the remaining scraps as could be managed, sew repeating darts into the rectangle to curve it, and then cut a centered rectangle on the back of the already stitched blouse and inset the curved rectangle as a flared peplum. Definitely a non-standard alteration, but it echoes the square armscye and looks intentional. In the future I would also want to cut the sleeves at least an inch longer, which would have been possible had I not cut the front and back too long. Overall the pattern does give me a second option if a straight grain blouse front is needed, I love the square armsceye, and intend to do some more fine tuning the fit as well as experiment with collar shapes in the future.
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 horses blouse- -
4 -
- -
5 -- -
6 - -
-
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

today's gratitude -
wearing a self-made wardrobe leads to random unexpected compliments from (female) strangers. Yesterday while I was walking to the store a woman in a car stopped to compliment my Solbein lopi cardigan, and we had a little chat about knitting, before the light turned and she had to drive on. It is always women, and happens to me at least once or twice a month. I don't know whether that is because men don't notice clothing, or because they don't notice plump old women, or because of any of the other myriad complicated rules of gendered interaction.


* medium to low contrast patterns, subtle darkish colors, curved edges rather than angular, stripes, botanical motifs, and of course using my chosen color palette and natural fibers. Whenever I push the edges of these guidelines it is chancy how well I will like the results. The horses blouse is, I realised, borderline in that the print is actually quite contrasty in value range. I was seduced by the incredible charm of the Heather Ross ponies.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

some Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine makes a number of steps forward...

Just found out this week that my friend Berengeria had a stroke. Apparently she has been in hospital, in the ICU, since November, but only recently transfered to a long term care hospital here in Portland and well enough that visitors would be encouraging rather than a danger. I went to see her Friday afternoon, after making this card for her.

Her husband Alail was also there when I arrived, and she was asleep, so we talked a bit until the nurse gave her some medication which woke her up. He can understand her speech much better than I could; the good thing is that she can speak now. It is hard to see someone so lively now laid so low, but I figure that the best thing I can do is continue to visit while she is there; I know how very tedious being in hospital is...
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Started the first steps for my Athena blouse, stitching the sew in interfacing to the reverse side of the facings, and in time to the reverse side of the back yoke I've added to the blouse, as a way of giving some additional width to the back, which is an easy way to give greater mobility to woven tops. Additionally, the plain white sheeting will help keep the patterned fabric facing from showing through the center front as shadow horses.
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Since there is only a few jars of Awesome Sauce left on the pantry shelf, it is time to take some of the frozen tomato, already packaged in 400g quantities, and make more; there are enough in the freezer to make two full batches, enough to share with my next door neighbors who also love it, and who share their tomato harvest with me in the summertime.
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For some reason when I first put the saffron linen gown together, I only guessed at the measurement of Larry's neckline, which turned out to be a not very good guess, and it was not quite large enough. I had to carefully remove the front binding, recut the neckline, and then add a new binding. Now he will be able to pull it over his head without having to remove his eyeglasses and take out his ponytail first! I will have to add "measure neckline" to my notes for future sewing (embarassed)
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oops, must need fix this... . . . now fixed!!
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 card for Bera better light in workroombag to Goodwill
2 Awesome Sauceimprove dotted necklinepaper recycling
3 -- -
4 -
- -
5 -- -
6 - -
-
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

today's gratitude - today was comparatively warm, and in the damp gap between rains, I managed to get to the library on my bicycle to return the books due tomorrow. Being able to still ride my bike, and to use it to get around the neighborhood, never gets tiresome. I intend to keep using it as local transport as long as possible.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

a less than auspicious start

in which our plucky heroine is quite distracted by pain...

Some of the time I just plain hate my endoskeleton. This is one of those times... and, adding injury to insult, not only has my SI joint decided that it isn't going to cooperate with the rest of my body, screaming at me with every change of position, but yesterday morning while eating breakfast I bit my tongue. Hard. Like bleeding into the porridge spoon. Never done that before. Looked at it afterwards and it seems not to need medical attention, but hurts, because tongue tip! One friend suggested that this, rather than being an inauspicious start to the new year, is instead the last of 2019, adding an extra smack of unpleasantness just because it can. Here's hoping that 2020 brings better things to all of us!
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Started on my next personal sewing, with this treasured fabric, light blue cotton with horses in various shades from dark brown to creamy white. I plan to make a blouse, using LaFred's Athena Blouse pattern. I will need to alter the pattern to fit me better, as the last time I made it was over fifteen years and umpteen pounds ago.

The Athena blouse has an interesting square armscye, and as I recall has sort of dropped shoulders and a loose fit, so quite different than my current TNT blouse pattern, which has a bias cut front, set in sleeves, and a peplum lower half. However, running the print on the bias would look odd; diagonal stripes, or florals, are no problem, but I felt that horses standing diagonally all down my front would not do. Hence my need to re-fit a pattern that allows the blouse front to be cut on the straight of grain, an easier task than entirely redrafting the front of my TNT pattern. And this will (hopefully) give me a second TNT blouse pattern, subtly different than the other...

I was worried that there might not be enough yardage, until I realised that my own short stature meant I could shorten the pattern pieces rather a lot. I first measured the other blouses I've sewn, to get the ideal length, and then laid out the pattern on the fabric... just enough! Really glad, since that Heather Ross fabric has apparently become very "collectable" in the intervening many years it has been aging on my shelf... The fabric pieces, together with thread, chosen buttons, and a piece of well washed white sheeting (sew in interfacing for the front edge and the back yoke), all go into a tote bag as a sewing kit for this week whenever I get a bit of time.
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I also set up the two lamps that were my gift to myself and to the house this year. The tabletop plant light is quite sturdy and simple, and once I acquire some planting pots*, will soon be working hard keeping the kitchen here at Acorn Cottage in fresh herbage. I plan to grow arugula and cilantro, and to pick up a basil plant at Trader Joes. The plant light + tray + plant pots will fit neatly atop the clothes dryer, where there is also a convenient electrical outlet. I wish that there were more outlets in the kitchen.

The other lamp was an LED/circular magnifier for use when working on small projects (enameling, metalwork, and scribal arts), the combination of better lighting and magnification will be most helpful, in a way that my eyeglasses are not. There must needs be some rearrangement of tables in order to accommodate the lamp, which is somewhat larger than I imagined, and has joints that only bend in certain directions. "Proficere lente sed proficere"

* I ordered these small self-watering pots with the last of last years Amazon birthday gift credit. I am no way a natural gardener, and I figure that plants here need all the help I can manage.
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January SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 - new workroom light bag to Goodwill
2 ---
3 -- -
4 -
- -
5 -- -
6 - -
-
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

today's gratitude - this year is a great improvement on last year at this time, which had me in so much pain from cranky ankle that I needed an MRI and much physical therapy, and a lot of time to pass before I could walk without agony.