Monday, August 31, 2020

Monday miscellany

n which our plucky heroine manages to accomplish things ...

despite cognitive dissonance; there were good things this weekend to balance out the horror (though I increasingly feel like I am in pre-WW2 Germany, and all my instincts scream at me to Get Out Now)...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 159:

pumpkins n flamingos... keeping Portland wierd, like you do...
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My friends "the aunties" came down to Portland, and we had a several hours long, safely-distant, masked, outdoors-in-the-front-yard visit. I hadn't seen them since last year, so we had a lot of catching up to do. They also brought some of their instruments with them, including the bass ukelele, and the new midsize kit harp they made. K carved the wood to a more historical profile, and added carved roundels to the frame. I got to hold it, and the wind made the strings "sing" in my ear, very magical. It was truly lovely to have live music and friends on my lawn, in the shade of the yard trees.

Later, in the afternoon, I participated in a Shakespeare play reading of Henry IV - Part II, via Zoom, which took several hours. Two of my dear friends from far away are in the group that does this every weekend, so it was nice to see them, even if only as tiny pixel images.

Sunday's Crafternoon-zoom was a bit sparse, with only two of the regulars, and I realised I needed to put a damper on the discussion about the current protests, as I was getting more and more distraught, and finally spoke up and said "let's change the subject, please"; I do need social contact, but I also need respite from my anger and terror. Not sure what the answer is.

saving the best for last... the package from Sweden arrived today!
I was baffled when the postman rang the bell and said it needed to be signed for (to be sure, he CAN read, since he followed my instructions taped to the door which say to ring the bell and then move to the end of the walkway first, so I can open the door safely)

Nandina was very curious about the parcel, since the customs declaration said "doll toy accessory"

The contents were wrapped in some finely woven silk fabric, in her favorite color, more than enough to make her a beautiful new SCA gown!
finally unwrapped, inside an inner sturdy container and more silk, was the oh so amazing handcarved soapstone tripod cookpot!!; Riia is a wonder, and Nandina (and I) are completely delighted...

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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 46 ~
one of several proofs of my current print effort, EQUITY... I have been having a very hard time getting the color even, this, on a scrap of thin paper, was the best of a series of five proofs. Most looked more like these:
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The ink is not covering the paper well, as the postcard paper is slightly irregular, intended for watercolor, I think, and even the bristol board which is quite smooth does not pick up the ink well... I am going to give it one more try with different ink, but I suspect that unlike the slightly squishy safe-t-cut, the lino is just too firm for the robust paper. Live and learn, and keep trying. Art is not a linear adventure.
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"Why everyone should read The Disspossesed" was an essay worth the reading, even though I have read the novel several times over the years...
"...any political action not inspired by an ideal of society, and not just a negative desire to overturn what is already there, is even less likely to succeed."
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today saw more progress dealing with the Unhappy Window Frame, as I was able to remove the crumbling rotted lower portion of the trim. The underneath framing of the window seems to be sound, as far as I can tell, and the sill, hidden under the trim is properly slanted away from the house wall, and seems to be at least mostly still solid, though rather riddled with nail holes. I have sent photos off to B in hope of additional advice, and have fingers crossed that repair can happen somehow, before the rainy season...
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replacedyard waste bin
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned yard waste bin
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned recycle bin
5 Nandina handknitbox fan cleaned rotted trim bits
6 Nandina sunhat organise new paint -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll x x
11 Noro cowl x x
12 applesauce made x x
13 blackberry syrup x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - There are big ornamental plum trees in the front yard. Though they were badly mangled by Former Homeowner, they have continued to grow, and now provide a great deal of pleasant shade in the summertime. That shade gave my visitors this last Saturday a place to be comfortable while staying safely distant...

Friday, August 28, 2020

Friday foderol

in which our plucky heroine looks forward to seeing friends both in the yard, and online...

Tomorrow my other Olympia pals will be arriving for a safely distanced lawn visit... so excited! and tomorrow I will also be participating in a Shakespeare readers group on Zoom, of many people getting together to read a play (History of Henry IV, Part II (1597)), with various folks reading various parts. I have been assigned four small parts, as this is my first time, and I have never ever done anything like that before!
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 45 ~
Finally finished the teal/grey Noro cloud cowl... eventually it will be cool enough to wear it, just not yet, as we are in summer-winding-down but evenings are still warm stage. I have almost a whole skein left of this color, and am considering finally making a start on my stripey sleeve cardigan project, since Ariadne also gave me quite a few skeins of a grey Noro in the same nice silk wool blend, that could be the body of the cardigan... definitely something to mull over, as soon enough it will be autumn and knitting will be a welcome activity again.
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Earlier this month I noticed that the window that faces east is in a bad way, with much of the window trim degrading and crumbling to bits. Somehow this escaped notice as it is not the sort of thing that just suddenly "happens", but now, of course, it must needs be dealt with prior to the return of the rainy season. I have been in consultation about what is needed to prepare for repairs, understanding that as always, there is no way to know the extent of the damage before the wall is opened up. Fingers crossed that it only involves replacing the trim, maybe some added flashing and suchlike, and not major structural repairs. Time will tell, but at least I have a good advisor in Mr Dawson.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 156:
pretty sure this is some form of nicotiana, but as it was early morning rather than evening, there was none of the ostensibly lovely scent...
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Apples foraged and apples gifted have all be turned into five pints of applesauce for the pantry. Just in time, too, as the backyard apples are coming ripe, and will meet the same fate. Then it will be plum harvest...
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replacedyard waste bin
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned yard waste bin
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned recycle bin
5 Nandina handknit box fan cleaned -
6 Nandina sunhat organise new paint -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll x x
11 Noro cowl x x
12 applesauce made x x
13 blackberry syrup x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - Past Me planted fruit trees, Present Me gets to enjoy the fruit...

Thursday, August 27, 2020

backalley blackberry bounty

in which our plucky heroine continues to enjoy having a destination...

however random, and occasionally prickly. Blackberries are gradually ripening, and while not abundant or common (unlike other places I have lived in the PNW), I head out daily with a Talenti tub in my pinafore pocket, and have been managing to find enough to harvest, one or two berries at a time, that there will be at least a few small jars of syrupy goodness for future delectation.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 44 ~
transfered the completed design for the next print in the series:  "EQUITY". The lettering will be counterchanged where it crosses the arm, and carving the lettering is going to be quite a challenge, considering the scale of the block, at just under 3" wide. For those who can't read backwards, the quote is "Justice is what love looks like in public" - Cornel West
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This excellent article really clarifies the current state of mind here at Acorn Cottage, as well as what various friends and family are experiencing...
“If you stay in the rational when nothing else is rational, like right now, then you’ll just stress yourself more,” she says. “What I say with ambiguous loss is the situation is crazy, not the person. The situation is pathological, not the person.”
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 154:
Most of the places with flowers currently are the yards where people water their garden beds; this striped phlox is very eye-catching! I enjoyed the contrast between the subtle lavender/white striping, and the red/black of Nandina's stocking feet...
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replacedyard waste bin
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned -
5 Nandina handknit box fan cleaned -
6 Nandina sunhat organise new paint -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll 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 - "faith is the ground, stubborn is the crop".... this was one of my several self-created touchstones as a young person, always rebuked for my stubborn ways... I chose to believe that someday somehow, Future Me would be happier. I didn't give up, and in many ways I didn't give in. And there have been happy times scattered amongst the everyday. Perhaps those precious few shine the brighter for the difficulty surrounding them. And perhaps at the end of life, this current conflagration will not be the finale, and I can only hope some additional gems of joyful times lay sleeping in the arms of the yet-to-be...

Monday, August 24, 2020

Monday music and miscellany

in which our plucky heroine knows that the world is not just for humans...

every morning, paying attention to what fragments of the natural world are there to be seen, whether it is the colors of the sky and clouds, the small urban predators that many people keep as commensal housemates, or the avian life that seems most visible when there are fewer humans. Today there were several flickers, a mourning dove, and a pair of chickadees all in the alley behind Carla's house. I let them be, and chose to walk another way.
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something peaceful to listen to
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something intense and fun to listen to
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 43 ~
Started working on the "EQUITY" print yesterday... still needs some work, as I don't have all the parts looking quite the way I envision them, but the general effect is there... more sketch layers today, and I should be ready to start carving the block sometime this week.
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Lately, on my sanity strolls, I've been carrying along several small empty Talenti tubs in my pinafore pockets, to take advantage of backalley blackberries. No one will mind my careful harvest of the fruit of what are invasive and often unwanted vines, and with care, there should be enough to turn into several jars of bramble syrup to add to my winter pantry.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 151:
...after my enjoyment of the wonderful stenciled koi, as I raised my eye a bit above the sidewalk, there was this cheerful statement stuck to the planter in front of the little shop... I'm really curious now, about the people connected to the shoe repair shop, and I hope that they continue there successfully
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Is this not the most delightful tiny soapstone pot! My Swedish friend Riia made it for Nandina... carved from a fragment from Solem quarry in Norway.* It is a representation of a Viking Age cooking pot, and I think now that Nandina needs a whole small SCA encampment, with gear and a campfire made from an LED flickering candle...
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replacedyard waste bin
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned -
5 Nandina handknit box fan cleaned -
6 Nandina sunhat organise new paint -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll 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 - creative kindness... yesterday I found out that my pal Ursel is making a little Viking style tent for Nandina! (I guess I better get busy making her some additonal SCA camping gear, eh?...)


* 62.945505, 10.470134 is the location of the quarry you can paste into google maps.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Friday folderol and Saturday snippets

in which our plucky heroine finds some wonderful fish...

Koi are a symbol of resilience and that is something we all need more than ever these days. A bit of online searching and I found out the artist is Jeremy Novy
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I want to age like sea glass.
Smoothed by tides, not broken.
I want to ride the waves, go with the flow and feel the impact of the surging tides.
When I am caught between the rocks and a hard place, I will rest.
And when I am ready, I will catch a wave and let it carry me where I belong.
I want to be picked up and held gently by those who delight in my well-earned patina,
And appreciate the changes I went through to achieve this luster.
I want to enjoy the journey and let my preciousness be, not in spite of the impacts,
But because of them.
I want to age like sea glass.
--Bernadette Noll
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 149:
 
a new, multi-sided poetry kiosk was installed recently,
next to the driveway at the local shoe repair shop...

the two poems I saw were an old favorite, and now a new one. I have loved Marge Piercy's "To be of use" for many years, but I will say that reading the words of Audre Lourde in "A Litany for Survival" spoke so strongly to me right now.
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replacedyard waste bin
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned -
5 Nandina handknit box fan cleaned -
6 Nandina sunhat organise new paint -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll 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 good neighbors, at least that is my assumption about who put my wheelie bins out for the trash and recycle before I got around to it...

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Thursday thoughts

in which our plucky heroine makes it most of the way through another week....

It has been difficult in ways not immediately obvious. The ongoing isolation is really affecting me, even in dreamland I find no relief, but wander empty neighborhoods there as well. And as difficult as it is for me, it is much worse for my Aged Parents, who are not as blessed with tech-familiarity, or with friends to connect with even if the tech was not a challenge. I worry about them every day, helpless to do more than I am already attempting to ease their situation with frequent phone calls and weekly zoom sessions...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 42 ~

I think this counts as creative... I am reusing cardboard from the recycle pile, to make little boxes to keep my new paints organised in the scribal tote box. My plan is to eventually cover the boxes with paper mache, but for now, done is better than perfect. Don't the colorful tubes of new paint look just delectable!


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Is it just me, or are there a lot more hummingbirds around this year? Maybe it is a local phenomenon, but it is pretty delightful. Somewhat less delightful is the ongoing migration of much too large spiders into the house. There was one in the bathroom washbasin earlier this week, not what I want to see first thing on arising, and again today on the bathmat next to the shower. Ugh, and big enough that catching them in the clear plastic "spider catching cup" felt quite fraught...
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 147:
this is, I think, a dried allium flower, but to me it looks more like the ghost of fireworks seen long ago.
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Gwen, after an exciting day settling into her new home, was tuckered out and went to bed (I was sent a text message + photo). I was charmed to see how next-door tween daughter made a new bed and a whole set of bedding for her :

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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replacedyard waste bin
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleanedrecycle bin
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned -
5 Nandina handknit box fan cleaned -
6 Nandina sunhat organise new paint -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll 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 rode my bike over to Green Zebra, and had a curbside pickup of salad greens, bacon, a loaf of sourdough bread, blueberries and salad dressing.  That should hold me for another week. I made a point of letting them know that even though I had not been inside their store since early March, I had shifted the bulk of my grocery purchases there, because local small business is something I strongly believe in and want to support. They buy from local producers as well, and they treat their employees like humans, not like disposable cogs.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine is astonished...

Last night, my friend Riia in Sweden informed me that she had carved a soapstone pot for Nandina, using some stone from a quarry in Norway. Now mind, with her geological research, having some soapstone fragments on hand is not farfetched, but it never occurred to me that she would be inspired to use her skills to such a task. There is now the most darling little three legged soapstone pot that will, with luck, find its way here to Acorn Cottage. I think that Nandina now needs to have her own tiny Viking Age/SCA encampment, so that cooking over the "coals" of a (safe, little, LED) faux campfire can occur.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 41 ~
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Yesterday I finished up the tiny rag doll I was asked to make for the tween who lives next door...and since I couldn't really send her off to her new home unclothed, I made a simple dress for her to wear. Today I was informed that her name is Gwen. Nandina waved goodbye to her temporary guest and hello to her new next door neighbor this morning.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 145:

grapevine tendrils on the clothesline...
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just as strongly relevant now as when it was first on the charts
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replaced-
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleaned-
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned -
5 Nandina handknit box fan cleaned -
6 Nandina sunhat x -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket x x
10 another tiny rag doll 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 - serendipity... I was hunting around trying to find my stash of teeny tiny clothespins so I could use them for basketry, and while I was unsuccessful in that search, I did find a stash of a half dozen very small swivel snap hooks, just right for my apron modification project. So huzzah! I guess I can add tablet weaving into my summertime projects. It will be a good thing to have a Useful Apron (subset easy-to-wash) before getting back into putting food up in jars again soon.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

foraged fiber and other foldreol

in which our plucky heroine spends another day hiding indoors...

another scorcher on the way today... will probably go over 100 again. I will not plan on anything that requires elaborate brain function today, yesterday I was so dull with discomfort that we shut down Crafternoon early, everyone was not particularly functional or really conversational. My plan for today involve some of the neverending indoor chores, running some extra water out to the tomato plants, and an assortment of small, pleasant craft activities (making a tiny rag doll for the neighbor child, beginning color experiments with my new paints, laminating some more cardboard, etc), all interspersed with short cold showers, and tzatziki salad. If there is bacon in the freezer, there will be another BLT for lunch.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 40 ~
I have been foraging/gathering discarded plant materials found in the neighborhood... it has been many long years since I did any basket weaving, but the theme for this month's challenge over in Tiny Rag Doll World, is "try something new", and I decided that Nandina needs assorted containers for her future abode. I already made her some tote bags, and baskets are always useful!
plaited basket base, made with false dandelion (aka "cats-ears") stems. I had not planned on using this, but noticed the long dry stems laying on the ground in the backyard where I had forgotten to pick them up after my last bout of weeding, and figured it was worth trying... My understanding is that it is always better to dry stuff first and rehydrate as that way materials do not shrink (as much)

twining sides, with split bearded iris leaf weavers. I had found a big pile of discarded iris leaves, and brought them home last month, and pinned them to the clothesline to dry. That took weeks! It was worth it though, as the leaves have a wonderful smooth texture, and feel quite strong. In fact I was also able to use the leftover rehydrated leaves to make a fine yet sturdy cordage...

Because it has been years since I did any basketry, and that was not particularly elaborate, I had no idea how I was going to finish off this tiny basket. I chose this first example to follow. It worked okay, but was difficult to do at the small scale of my border. I was also not particularly pleased that I could not trim the ends neatly inside the basket, partially due to scale, and partially because trimming the ends close would cause the border to fail. I intend to do further searching online to find other border weaves for future baskets!

the finished basket is just over an inch tall, not including the handle. Yes that is an actual normal size push pin it is hanging from... and another indicator of scale is that the basket fits tidily on the top of an ordinary thread spool:

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beauty in the time of isolation - day 143:
this beautiful collage is another local memorial to lives lost
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I was quite alarmed this morning when I saw that our local ballot drop box had disappeared! Once I returned home from my sanity stroll, I was able to find out that according to the county, a replacement will hopefully be placed not too far away, and hopefully in plenty of time before the election...
Please note, the North Lombard Goodwill Drop box will be relocated to a new location for the November 3, General Election. The Goodwill store is undergoing renovation and the Drop Box was removed to prevent damage. The temporary location will be near the Goodwill store. All libraries are now 24-drop sites including the nearby Kenton Library.

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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replaced-
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleaned-
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag rosemary pruned -
5 Nandina handknit x -
6 Nandina sunhat x -
7 tiny knitting book x x
8 Nandina clothing x x
9 tiny basket 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 - electricity, which allows for such amelioration as box fans, ice cubes, and a refrigerator full of cold food.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

box fan day...

in which our plucky heroine increases her wind capacity...

I now have two additional big window fans courtesy of the Community Energy Project (and an assortment of other energy saving items, like outlet insulators and weatherstripping). They delivered my "cooling kit" this morning; I took an online workshop last week, and was in the eligible cohort for the free kit. (workshop is sponsored by the local utility company) Now I will be able to use some fans to pull in cooler air and the others to push warm air out of the house on the other side. Given that the forecast is for 102 this weekend, they wanted to get these into peoples homes ASAP!

Since I was able to deploy the new fans immediately, this seemed like the perfect chance to give the older box fans a good cleaning: removing the grilles and scrubbing them, and vaccuming out the as much of the fan guts as can be reached. Ugh! the amount of dust and frelch that accumulates in the fans is rather disgusting, considering that it is coming out of the air outside, and that I do this at least once a year... needs must, and now at least there will be slightly less circulating dust inside Acorn Cottage!
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 39 ~
Last week I followed the directions on Ann Wood's blog for making a "straw" sunhat: since I didn't have any cheesecloth, I used a single layer of thin somewhat loosely woven linen. I mixed some golden yellow paint with Elmer's glue, and it worked really well to create a sturdy hat.

It is getting a little bit more difficult to find flowers for the "Summer Bloom" challenge as we wend further into August, and things around here tend to become a bit crispy from the heat, but these roses were just beautiful! Yesterday I decided to make Nandina the reversible apron from the basic "tiny rag doll" pattern...

Compared to turning one of the tiny reversible blouses inside out, the apron was a LOT easier!. I figured that with one side of the apron solid color, and the other with a fun print, it will be a versatile accessory. My plan is to end up with Nandina having a coordinated wardrobe, in her favorite colors (golden, red/russet, green, tan, and black) I even made a little "Sewing With A Plan" chart in my journal, so as to remind me of what she still needs (items in italic have not yet been created)
  1. tee shirt - gold cotton knit
  2. tee shirt - red cotton knit
  3. tee shirt - striped black/red cotton knit
  4. dashiki - hand-painted linen
  5. mini skirt - green/red shot cotton
  6. loose pants - red/gold/black silk ikat 
  7. overalls - teal/russet shot cotton
  8. dress - red/teal + embroidery
  9. jacket - teal/russet shot cotton + embroidery
  10. cardigan - handknit tan wool 
  11. apron - gold/red shot cotton + tan/green/black crow print
  12. coat - ??
She also has her black "doc marten" boots, an acorn cap beret, a brown/red felt hood, and her straw sunhat... I think that when I finish her assorted garments that she will be set for most occasions that are likely to come up.
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It continues difficult to maintain any sort of equanimity. Isolation is wearying. and fretting over things I cannot affect is as well. Maybe with more sleep life will not seem quite so dire, but I doubt it. The situation in this country is in fact, dire. My usual strategies are wearing thin. I miss my friends and family something fierce.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 140:
Not my usual sort of beautiful image, but this household chose to use their entire yard fence, more than I could fit in my screen, as a memorial*... names and names and names of those whose lives have been cut short, murdered untimely soon. And hearts. And in the center BLM, as a reminder...
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replaced-
2 scroll for Countess Ebox fan cleaned-
3 tiny knitting bagbox fan cleaned -
4 tiny tote bag x -
5 Nandina handknit x -
6 Nandina sunhat x -
7 tiny knitting book 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 new paint! Good paint, gouache in tubes instead of the child's paintbox of opaque watercolor I have been using since forever. I am really looking forward to trying them out this weekend! Thank you dearlove M for the incredibly generous gift!!

* this is one of at least three vernacular memorials I know of within walking distance of Acorn Cottage... there is one house that has lined their yard frontage with tiny tombstones, each with a name and the years of their lives. And my favorite local pet and garden store has painted their entire frontage of store wainscot with names and names and names of black people murdered untimely and senselessly.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

if enough is a good as a feast

in which our plucky heroine has a kitchen full of food

Pandemic isolation has had the peculiar quality of increasing my attunement to the seasonal food fluctuation... not that I was unaware prior to this year, but it was of somewhat less consequence. Monday was the day of the arrival of food. A big box of goodies from my Mud Bay friends, produce from their garden, which is most abundant currently.

Heather drove down from OlyWa and as she is my designated shopper, she headed out to buy more food, it had been about a month since her prior visit, and the fridge was looking very empty. Somehow, in the distressing prior week, I forgot that I had also ordered my every other week Imperfect Produce box, which arrived today, fortunately with almost no overlap of the contents.

My kitchen and refrigerator are feeling a bit turgid. I have been cooking and steaming things in order to condense them somewhat, and to prep things for freezing. Cilantro was chopped and frozen in big ice cubes, as I have learned that leaving it in the fridge for even a few days is sadness. The green beans were all cut and steamed, and now wait in the fridge to be added to salads. Kale is steamed and in the freezer. Spinach is being prepped to be steamed, half will become a spinach rice bake, and the other half will just get frozen. Two beautiful eggplants will become Melanzane al Funghetto, and 5 flavor eggplant. There are some early apples, which is suspect will become applesauce and get put in the pantry. The exquisite fresh peach however, ended up in my breakfast today!
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 38 ~
I made a tiny "knitting book" for Nandina's knitting tote, using some scraps of art paper, the leftovers from the leather strips I used on the tote, and a bit of old cereal box cardboard. The cover title took quite a bit of hunting through the old Yellow Pages to find a suitable word in a small enough size.

a handknit cardigan, made this weekend during assorted Zoom meetings
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I made mayonnaise. I have learned three things so far - 
1. a stick blender is so NOT the correct tool for the job. I stopped using it when it became too hot to hold, ((and then I noticed on the top, where the specs are, that it is rated for no more than 5 minutes continuous use!) I continued the process by hand using a whisk), The correct tool is an actual blender, with a robust motor.
2. should I do this again, I will use vinegar instead of lemon juice, unless I want lemony mayo
3. it is actually very easy to pasteurize an egg, and it does in fact still appear a raw egg when you crack it open.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 138:

delphinium
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"And yet, we have all been given gifts, creative gifts, that are just that: Something special, something extra, something that can make the world a better place.

Our desire to make something beautiful, no matter what form it is, is a gift.

And whoever/whatever gave it to us, will be honored when we make room–and time–for it in our lives.

So put on your oxygen mask (or Covid-19 mask!) and make something beautiful today. Whether it’s your art, your music, your story-telling, your care, whatever your superpower is, put it in the world. Today.

Because the world will be better for it, because of you."

- Luann Udell
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replaced-
2 scroll for Countess Ex-
3 tiny knitting bagx -
4 tiny tote bag x -
5 Nandina handknit
x -
6 Nandina sunhat
x -
7 tiny knitting book
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 friends that love me, that make sure I have food to eat. In addition, Heather brought her mom Sharon down to visit me yesterday; her mom and I have been friends for fifty+ years. We had a socially distanced visit, sitting ten or so feet apart, both wearing our masks. It was wierd, but much more immediate than in the pixel place. Someday if fortune is benevolent, we may be able to hug our friends again...
 



Wednesday, August 5, 2020

wishful Wednesday

in which our plucky heroine remembers an everyday pleasure...

...the delights of grocery shopping, something so mundane and so necessary. I miss it sorely, my daily interactions with other humans, the being able to see for myself what new fresh produce or interesting protein had arrived, the occasional treat of a fresh flower, the every week or so trip to a distant market with pan-Asian or Lebanese or Russian foods... All my skills of being able to find the best of what was available with my limited budget, to be able to choose just the right piece of fruit, to notice other humans and be able to find something to say to brighten their day... and on Saturdays, riding the bus to the farmer's market and walking around seeing the beautiful displays of effort expended and doing my small part to make that effort repaid. All gone now...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 37 ~
A second canvas tote bag is perfect for a trip to the farmer's market... (the "market" is actually foraging for items in the yard here)
A closer look at the tote bag, with all the "shopping". There are walking onions, a head of salad burnet, a fruit from the fuchsia bush, some eucalyptus pods, a small folded up newspaper (cut down from a larger one) and a sprig of fuchsia buds...
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It has been a rough day. I miss my friends. I miss my family. I miss the touch of another human hand. I miss thinking that those things will come again. I miss believing that the light at the end of the tunnel will not be the oncoming train. Yesterday I found out that the chemicals they are spraying the protesters with, not just downtown, but in residential neighborhoods, including less than a mile from Acorn Cottage, those chemicals are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Not gas that will dissipate, but dust that will stick around and move about. The powers that be are poisoning our city. Oh, not in the posh neighborhoods where the wealthy live, but in the places where everyday folks make their homes, and have to work, and try to get by, and protest for equity and survival... I am sick at heart.
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 132:
saw the most charmingly painted "little free library" on my sanity stroll today. All the tiny books have titles that relate to who is reading them...The spider is reading "Kiss of the Spider Woman", and the fairy is reading "The Blue Fairy Book"... Also, the book kiosk rotates and has doors on two sides, one for books for youngsters, and one for books for adults!
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replaced-
2 scroll for Countess Ex-
3 tiny knitting bagx -
4 tiny tote bag 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

today's gratitude - fruit that falls from the sky. A plum tree full of huge ripe plums (not prune plums but about the size of a large peach) left one on the sidewalk as I was walking early this morning. After a good wash, and cutting away the smooshed portion, it was a great addition to my breakfast today


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

grasping at straws

in which our plucky heroine celebrates small victories...

The online workshop I took today, presented by the local Community Energy Project, was on keeping cool without air conditioning. While I didn't learn anything ground-breaking, I did pick up some tips about how better to manage air flow, and having taken the workshop, I can sign up for a summertime energy saving kit that includes a box fan! More fans in more windows means greater indoor comfort. Plus they will deliver the kit here to Acorn Cottage, since I am still very much in seclusion
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 77:

another mystery flower..
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Today I learned something new, that will likely make my scribal efforts easier. Apparently there is a thing called the Ames Lettering Guide, a venerable gizmo that helps artists rule parallel lines suitable for lettering, in various configurations. Who knew... obviously not moi! When a question was asked in the Knowne World Advancing Scribes group "what do you want to learn" I piped up that I really struggle with getting the lines in place before doing my calligraphy. The moderator of the group put together a Zoom lesson that very afternoon, and it was a definite "dawn over Marblehead" moment for yours truly... Said item has been added to my wishlist.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 132 ~
While looking for something completely different, I ran across this tutorial for how to make a miniature tote bag, and thought that would work really well as a knitting bag! Et voila…
Nandina needs an assortment of containers, bags, baskets, and boxes for storage in her future house… so that will be my focus this month, as it will allow me to explore various "new to me" techniques… The instructions in the tutorial are really thorough, and while I had never made a tiny bag before, I was quite able to follow along, and was very pleased with how it looks. And, of course, I had to make up some very tiny skeins of yarn, and a little “pattern booklet” to go with...
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook light bulbs replaced-
2 scroll for Countess Ex-
3 tiny knitting bagx -
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

today's gratitude - foraging for materials... Last month I picked up some discarded iris leaves, and hung them on the clothesline to dry. My cunning plan is to split them into narrow pieces, and use them to weave a miniature basket.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

summertime stitchery

in which our plucky heroine learns some new twists to a former handcraft long neglected...

I'm rather pleased with my new sketchbook, made in the Medieval Islamic Style bookbinding class that just finished. I combined several different papers in the text block, including graph paper, as my intention was to use it as a kind of scribal commonplace book. If I have notes of various options for detailing marginalia and suchlike, it will be very useful when I don't want to be tethered to the assorted screens...
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 35 ~
when last we left the bindery, the primary end bands had just been stitched, and the next step was to stitch the secondary end bands, here begun in two colors of blue, and the stitching forms tiny herringbone stripes...


the headbands help protect the spine of the book, and in this style of binding, the covers are basically the same dimensions as the text block, unlike in European style binding, where they extend outward slightly

the foreedge is lined with a scrap of silk ikat fabric... and the inclusion of graph paper is visible

the fore-edge flap folds to the inside, thereby further enclosing the text block

This shows how the cover flap lies neatly underneath the front cover

the completed book is a good size for pocket or satchel, being large enough to be useful and small enough to be easy to carry...
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I was there
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beauty in the time of isolation - day 131:
blossoming passionflower
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I've been continuing to tote Nandina along on my morning sanity strolls, as long as the online floral challenge continues, and today we found some pokeberry growing in a nearby alley (actually not far from where the passionflower that also caught my eye. A few years ago I dyed some wool yarn using poke berries, and it came out a vivid burgundy red color, very beautiful. If I can find enough berries this year, I may try again. It would be really fun to make Nandina a tiny cardigan using naturally dyed yarn
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August SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 scribal sketchbook
light bulbs replaced
-
2 xx-
3 xx -
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

today's gratitude - Last night a FB message from Duke James prompted me to go outside and look at the moon... it was in a rare alignment forming a triangle, with Saturn and Jupiter the other two points, very vivid and beautiful, and the night was clear enough that I was able to see it above the neighbors house roof.