Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Plusses and minuses

in which our plucky heroine stretches the comfort zone, just a bit...

Rode my bike to the bigger grocery store yesterday. It was weird to be there, and not entirely pleasant. Too many people. Plus when did they start having an armed guard near the entrance?...

I did see some interesting things while out and about, though... There are three new trees planted behind the elementary school, with fairly large cutouts made in the otherwise entirely paved playground which comprises the fenced area for children. I saw a young man with an odd backpack that had screened sides and a large "porthole" where the flap would usually be. As I rode past I asked if they had a puppy inside, but instead, it was for their cat! (who peered out through the side at me)
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~ creativity challenge ~
Finished making up the baby baprons as part of the gift package (handknit sweater, hat, and booties; baprons; squishy ball; rainbow beads; board book) for Future Child of Heather and Brandon... Next I think will be a blanket, once I figure out if it wants to be patchwork, or blockprinting, or ??? (fortunately the baby isn't due til October)
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Perhaps some unknown bug (I suspect tiny arachnids) has been biting me while I am sleeping, or while I am out in the yard, or something, ever since Monday. Nasty welts like mosquito bites, but different. I seem to recall this happening a few years ago, with inconclusive results. More welts showed up this morning.  Benadryl creme, and green clay, are my friends.
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beauty in the time of isolation:

a wee lil shroom, growing under the patio eggplant start!
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Ugh! taxes time... Found both the missing SS paperwork, and the missing accounts reciepts (not that there are many of them, 2020 was a year of minimal business, since most of what I do requires in person activity) Here's hoping that finding and downloading the forms will be reasonable and simple... well, a girl can hope, eh? ... and, in a fit of brilliance, I called the Library. They had most of the forms I needed, and the ones they did not have on hand, they made copies of for me. They are not open to patrons yet, but there is a clever interactive window-barricade set into the door frame there, where one can drop off books and pick up holds.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1  teal knit tee for Nandina
repotted artichokes
-
2 teal knit skirt for Nandina
computer zone shelf
-
3 red/grey top for Nandina
cardboard back gate zone
-
4 red/print skirt for Nandina
pruned forsythia
-
5 setting for red Laurel
started cucumbers
-
6 samara earrings
backyard mowed x
7 three baby baprons
x x
8 two more baprons
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 the tiny 5mm snaps I ordered from Etsy finally arrived. And, an unexpected lagniappe, a package of tiny lace as well! I had been thinking about the new miniature wood stove tutorial from Ann Wood, and how I definitely have egg cartons and loo roll cores, but nothing at all like tiny decorative lace... I foresee a tiny wood stove for Caer Cardboard.


Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Tuesday tidbits

in which our plucky heroine breathes easier...

something very odd is drinking some cold water when half the mouth is still numb... the numb side does not register the coldness, so it feels like the water is half cold and half warm!
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~ creativity challenge ~

So, "troll dolls" were a thing when I was a child, and we made them outfits that consisted of clothing: a decorated strip of felt with two holes cut into it for their arms, and often a snap or button on the back to hold it closed, and a hat or headgear that was basically a decorated loop that slid down over their sheepskin hair. It was fun to use felt, beads, sequins, and floss to create troll doctors and nurses, cave people, and kings and queens. It didn't take much sewing skill, and often the decorations were merely glued in place. When I decided to make Nandina a felt apron, the memories came flooding back...

My textile skills are a bit better than when I was eight. Saturday night I knit Nandina a stripey wool dress in teal and cream, and decided it needed an apron, and on a whim I decided on white felt. I sure hope that the tiny snaps I ordered arrive soon, as I am almost out; used two sets to make the apron straps moveable rather than stitched in place. Now the pockets are properly sewn in place, and a bit of wool hand-embroidery for a floral spray at the upper edge of the apron; I rather like how the white pinafore over the blue stripes gives her almost an "Alice in Wonderland" look...
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I came home Friday from the Dental Urgent Care clinic... no abscess in the x rays, some additional bone loss but not tons, gum pockets still quite bad. In addition to the exam they did root scaling/planing on that tooth to remove some of the tarter/calculus from below the gums, so two shots of novacaine, and now my jaw and tooth are quite sore. It hurts to open my mouth, which is weird (wondering if that is from having the injection into the joint area?)

Dr Addapali came down from periodontal to help. Based on the findings, he put me in his schedule for surgery on June 4, that is assuming that the getting me re-enrolled as a patient can be sorted out. I am quite pleased, sore, and almost $200 out of pocket; this is about as good an outcome as was at all likely
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1  teal knit tee for Nandina
repotted artichokes
-
2 teal knit skirt for Nandina
computer zone shelf
-
3 red/grey top for Nandina
cardboard back gate zone
-
4 red/print skirt for Nandina
pruned forsythia
-
5 setting for red Laurel
started cucumbers
-
6 samara earrings
x x
7 three baby baprons
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 - the pixel world, that lets our family keep in contact though far apart.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

embryonic cucumber (sounds like a band name)...

in which our plucky heroine plans ahead...

In the morning, I will go to dental urgent care, with many phone calls yesterday and today I was able to find out that although most everyplace I tried doesn't have appointments until June, if then, the symptoms I have are considered to be, in fact, as urgent as I was imagining... not great, but at least I should know more by this time tomorrow about what needs to be done. Doing my best not to borrow trouble, and simply and as thoughtfully as possible do the next thing. There are no good results for this situation, but at least I am not shrinking from moving forward to meet it.
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~ creativity challenge ~
Ariadne sent me some cucumber seeds earlier this year, and according to the internets, this is the time to start them indoors... I had been saving TP cores to use for starter pots, and the plant light in the kitchen is a good spot to also plug in the heat mat my pal Gwen gave me. The lid to a clear spinach box made a good waterproof tray. Once the pots were filled, and the seeds added, I then covered them with some sifted potting soil, and put the top half of the clear spinach box over them like an impromptu greenhouse. Fingers crossed it all goes well, this is my Learn Something New for the week; my thumbs are not green.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1  teal knit tee for Nandina
repotted artichokes
-
2 teal knit skirt for Nandina
computer zone shelf
-
3 red/grey top for Nandina
cardboard back gate zone
-
4 red/print skirt for Nandina
pruned forsythia
-
5 setting for red Laurel
started cucumbers
-
6 samara earrings
x x
7 three baby baprons
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 - my kindly friend Wanda who is willing on such short notice to give me a ride to and from the clinic tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

seeds of hope

in which our plucky heroine plants seeds, and perseveres...

Yesterday was so difficult, for reasons that have nothing to do with this photo. There were hours spent trying to deal with things, and finding out that a dear friend has been rehospitalised. I needed to just do something small and positive and most of all, possible.

I have been pulling my own self out of pretty dreadful pandemic isolation induced depression/languishing/dysfunction, and finally over the last month or so cleared off and refurbished my studio work stations, to allow for creativity to (hopefully) flourish again...

I picked up some small, fallen, maple samaras on my morning sanity stroll, to use as "models" for this simple fabricated pair of silver earrings. These were intended as a namesake birthday present for a tween-to-teen neighbor friend, and were a success both in giving me a much needed lift, and in giving her a bit of unexpected sparkle.

May seeds of hope take root and grow, and myself and others find the fortitude to continue...

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Yet more dismal dental news... finally managed to get through to the periodontal clinic, and while they have left a message for Dr Adapalli to contact me at some point, they cannot treat me until I have a primary care dentist. Which is the clinic that has no openings for at least six weeks or more. Or unless I find and sign up with a private practice somewhere. I'd be tearing my hair out if I had enough hair. This is such a stupid system. I may just call the emergency dental clinic. I hate gambling.
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Yesterday was also weird, because there were many huge houseflies buzzing in the house - not one, but like six different ones, despite care to keep the screen doors closed. I loathe flies. Eventually managed to trap them all between the windowscreening and the glass, in various windows, but ugh! I use the trick of making everyplace else dark and that way they fly towards the lighted rectangle that is the window, and it is usually possible to carefully slide the window closed before they fly away again.
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My old friend S, recently recovered from brain surgery to deal with a large abscess, had finally returned home after weeks of IV antibiotic therapy... She is now back in hospital again with a newly diagnosed bacterial infection in her shoulder bones, cartilage, and bone marrow! Looking at weeks and weeks of treatment and no way to know if she will regain the use of her arm. (this sort of problem is part of the reason why I am so concerned about dealing with the systemic infection that is in my tooth and jaw)
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beauty in the time of isolation:

springtime colors
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1  teal knit tee for Nandina
repotted artichokes
-
2 teal knit skirt for Nandina
computer zone shelf
-
3 red/grey top for Nandina
cardboard back gate zone
-
4 red/print skirt for Nandina
pruned forsythia
-
5 setting for red Laurel
- -
6 samara earrings
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 - Today I petted a sweet ginger and white cat (with the most delightful gingery moustaches) while out on my morning sanity stroll. And I got a smile and a wave from a cute truck driver, when I bowed and flourished his truck past as I stepped out of the street to get out of the way. (I am still walking in the street, on all the side streets, for safety sake).

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tuesday twinges and tidbits - day 53 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine is very worried...

AAAAAAhhhhh! I am so screwed. Called OHSU dental school to get back on track to resume the needed care, now that I am fully vaccinated. Since I have not been seen for over a year (since last March) I am considered a "new patient!?!WTF?? I've been going there for years now

Most crucially I left a message at the periodontal clinic to please call me back. I've needed the surgery since before the pandemic. They did the other, less problematic tooth last March, with the intention of doing the worse one in April. Last April. I am quite worried about the systemic infection that is eating away at the bone, since that kind of infection is a cardiac risk... No way to know yet if Periodontal Clinic has any appointments available.

As far as regular cleaning and exams, they have NO appointments available anytime, though there may be some possible sometime in June? (apparently appointments dropped yesterday for the month of May, and they are all full) Plucky heroine is worried, I've been putting off dental work for the last 13 months while isolated, but now that I'm more protected, this needs to happen soon...
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~ creativity challenge ~
Completed the enamel Laurel medallion and setting for Nicolin's elevation later this month, and mailed it out this morning. Fortunately the weather was cooperative for a bike ride to the post office.
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...just a tiny tip I figured out yesterday. For applying "silver black" liquid to a setting I used a toothpick instead of a paintbrush. Hammered the tip of the toothpick to make it more brush-like. I hate how silver black quickly destroys paintbrushes, and since I usually only need to put a little bit around the edges of bezel decoration before polishing the setting, the toothpick worked better and best of all I don't feel sad about discarding it afterwards.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
This was the pleasant surprise in my mailbox yesterday... a tidy tool roll as a thank you for participating in the StormMaker scribal challenge last month. Hlutwige made this, and chose my favorite colors for the leather. It will be most handy when transporting various tools (like the examples I placed atop it to show the size).
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Finally managed to add the shelf above the long power strip, so I will be moving the laptop over back into the computer tower and reclaiming my dining table at long last.
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1  teal knit tee for Nandina
repotted artichokes
-
2 teal knit skirt for Nandina
computer zone shelf
-
3 red/grey top for Nandina
cardboard back gate zone
-
4 red/print skirt for Nandina
- -
5 setting for red Laurel
- -
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 - all the cardboard I've been saving is now laid down over the back gate zone that I had Alan cut away last month. There will likely always be more cardboard, but after looking at the overgrown backyard, getting that area safe from immediate weed encroachment was necessary. I'll be laying some of the chips down over the cardboard soon. Incremental progress, etc...

Monday, May 3, 2021

Me-Made-Miniature-May - day 52 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine returns to the world of the very small...

This weekend was the Technical Symposium for the Digital SCA, and I'd rearranged my schedule so as to take advantage of the some of the many various classes that seem relevant to my own interests. In between and amongst watching and listening and taking notes, it was pretty easy to also start working on my projects for the Mix and Match wardrobe challenge over at Tiny Rag Doll Nation.
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beauty in the time of isolation:

mysterious strange botanical
...is it a fruit, is it a flower??
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Continuing the effort to better health: writing down what I eat, in an informal way in my journal after each meal has been working well (the last time I tried this, using an online program, it quickly became impossibly tedious) and I've been posting the daily list to a friends group for accountability. Added daily steps and mood columns to my journal tracking, to see if that yields any useful data at the end of the month. Had an idea  after yesterday's meal fail, maybe swap breakfast with dinner... Museli is a default super easy meal I've been making for decades. Sometimes I get too tired or too busy to actually cook a "proper" dinner. If, instead, dinner was planned to be something super easy, this would be a good experiment to try, since there is no one but me to be perturbed by salad, or stew, for breakfast...
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~ creativity challenge ~
I made two garments for Nandina on Saturday, a teal knit tee shirt and a lined silk skirt. The top is made using the Placket Tee pattern, and the skirt is made from two rectangular scraps from old silk scarves, (one printed in red, turquoise and black on a greyish-lavender background, and one burgundy) layered together, gathered into a bit of Hug Snug for a waistband.

I’m using the printed scarf fragment as my colorway inspiration. I didn’t have any wee tiny snaps, so ordered some from Etsy... foolish me, should have asked my shindig pals, several of whom have some in their notion stashes, and no one other than me has any use for the tiniest of snaps.

4 garments (2 reversible) = 9 outfits
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May SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1  teal knit tee for Nandina
--
2 teal knit skirt for Nandina
--
3 red/grey top for Nandina
- -
4 red/print skirt for Nandina
- -
5 red Laurel medallion for Nicolin
- -
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 - there was a ripe fresh organic peach in the bin at the Zeeb today. Now it is in me, after being sliced atop a small bowl of Greek yogurt.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday fragments - day 49 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine couldn't sleep last night, again...

but mostly becasue the book I chose for my bedtime reading was too good! On of my friends posted a comment about the book "Lab Girl" (by Hope Jahren), and I can't remember how long it has been since I couldn't stop reading a book. Intending to just read the first chapter as I wound down towards sleeping, instead stayed up way too late, until there were no more pages to read, (and am about to dive right back in and re-read it) She has such a way with words and phrases, and her writing gave me an entirely new way of thinking both about plant life, and about the life of scientists...
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A bit more than an hour of effort (with online company) and the soldering workbench top is entirely cleared, wiped down, and reorganised with only the things that are supposed to live there. In the process, I found a tiny disc anvil tucked inside a cupboard) that I've been looking for for several years! I've about a large handful of random bits to find homes for. Rather than despair about how long it will take to actually declutter and reorganise Acorn Cottage, I'm reminding self to be pleased at every additional bit of square footage that becomes a place of clarity and function.
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beauty in the time of isolation:

pink dogwood on a sunny spring day
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I've been filling in some of the random chunks of time with painting away on the group of Adiantum charters that Michael dropped off here. The charter artwork was quite challenging to paint, for several reasons, partially because the actual xerox quality was not great, and partially because the line art did not actually lend itself to being painted. We are doing our best to help our neighbors. I wish that more folks knew that there are actually parameters that help make charter art paintable. Photos tomorrow...
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~ creativity challenge ~
Me-Made-Miniature-May: instead of the full size challenge, make garments, accessories and artifacts for Nandina's world. There's a Mix and Match May wardrobe challenge going on over at Tiny Rag Doll Nation, which inspired me to return to the world of the small... I'm going to start by knitting a tiny placket tee, using this pattern. Tested my ability to knit so small by making a sample tee to share with Gwen, the doll that lives next door to us, and the knit top for Nandina will begin tomorrow. It  might be good to acquire some Lykke size 0 double pointed needles, the smallest I have are some Clover Takumi size 1...
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 two bone Viking threadwinders
planted herbs  bag of old fur
8 original Luttrell-inspired scroll
pruned forsythia
yard waste bin
9 two Adiantum charters pruned persimmon
recycle bin
10 red Laurel enamel
x yard waste bin
11 tiny placket tee for Gwen
x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - words with friends long out of touch. The pandemic has played hob with contact, and not everyone is on social media. There are people I never had their phone numbers because I saw them almost every day in my past time daily routines. I can't do much to fix the broken world, but I can persist in doing what I can to keep connections alive.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

back in the saddle - day 48 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine catches up on some long delayed work...

It has been a long while since I fired up the enameling kiln. A commission, initially started prior to pandemic, is finally getting finished, and I am enjoying getting back to it.  It would be better, if as in the past, if there was a second piece to work on at the same time, since there is a fair amount of sit and wait for the enamel to dry before it goes into the 1500F box for a few minutes at a time, over and over again...
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beauty in the time of isolation:
the color contrast between the euphorbia and the burgundy foliage really caught my eye today....
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I'm thinking I need to cut bread from my weekly meals, at least in the form of "sandwich" or "toast"...I will do this as an experiment for the duration of this challenge at least. I don't eat most wheat foods, but there is one type of sourdough that I found I can eat without digestive issues, and I started adding it to my groceries this year of isolation, because comfort*. Just like I have given up "milk as a beverage" (my lifelong habit), switching to plain water had about a fifteen pound difference on the scale. I am wondering if moving bread to "occasional rare occasion cooking ingredient" from it's current multiple times a week food might have a similarly useful result for me...
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~ creativity challenge ~
unset completed Laurel medallion enamel... the setting is finished but unpolished. Tomorrow I will put it all in place, polish it, and mail it off to the recipient. Actual size 1¼" diameter.
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On Saturday, started an attempt experimental batch of lactofermented garlic... salt brine and whey, in a jar with two heads of peeled garlic cloves. (sterilised all the glass etc with boiling water)
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 two bone Viking threadwinders
planted herbs  bag of old fur
8 original Luttrell-inspired scroll
pruned forsythia
yard waste bin
9 two Adiantum charters pruned persimmon
recycle bin
10 red Laurel enamel
x yard waste bin
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - there was enough propane to finish soldering the enamel setting... like a number of other staple supplies, it has not been replenished for the whole of the pandemic, and is on the list of things to deal with once it is possible.

*sure wish I could figure out a comfort for me that didn't involve food, or human contact...

Friday, April 23, 2021

more than a mouthful - day 42 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine bites off more than she can chew...

So, my friend Hlutwige, StormMaker of Stromgard, has been setting monthly challenges, and the one for April was Scribal Arts. Initally, my thought was to complete at least two original scrolls for the week-long challenge. Didn't realise that getting jab #2 would rather put paid to that idea, as it was half the week gone with feeling under the weather, and painting and calligraphy need rather intense focus.

Normally, original scrolls in An Tir are made specifically for a particular recipient, and part of the fun is finding ways to customise the design and motifs to the person. This was a different sort of challenge, making scrolls but leaving blank spaces for the person's name and date of the honor being awarded . I chose two different psalters as my examples, but did not have time to complete the scroll for Stromgard. The completed Three Mountains scroll, for the Order of the Mountain Sun, is inspired by the motifs and palette of the Lutrell Psalter.

After about the equivalent of three full days of work this is the completed scroll blank.The empty gaps for the name and date are clearly visible, as is the space for the Baron and Baroness to sign and the seal to be located.

What I learned (aside from don't try and do too much at one time): There are many things I'd wish to have improved... calligraphic hand, spacing (both horizontal and vertical), more accurate paint matching, density of ornament, etc. The original manuscript is half again as large, which both allows for more detailing, and makes the fineness of the white line work more to scale. While I have an adequate Gothic style calligraphy, the particular and distinctive Luttrell Psalter hand is one I have not yet mastered, a task for the future. Given that the whole scroll is on an 8"x10" sheet of bristol board, and the text block is 3¾" x 4½", it will take time for my writing to become as evenly spaced as the examples I see in period manuscripts. All in all, my hope is that the various aspects will all improve with more time spent with pen and brush

So, how this all began was with my looking through the digitised manuscript, and creating a sketch combining various appealing border elements that seemed to work together, a no less useful challenge than direct copying of a single page. I chose the upper border from f.20v, the foliated intial from f.300r, the lefthand border from f.92v (which allowed a neat little roundel for the badge of the Order of the Mountain Sun), and the elaborate combined line filler and righthand border from f.14v:

Next step, prior to any drawing on the scroll, is to lay out and calligraph the text. Learning how to use an Ames Guide for guidelines has saved me much preparation time, but it still takes several hours of steady writing with ink and dip pen. I used a ¾ mm Brause nib, and Calli Jet Black India ink, on

Next, the decorative borders are sketched in place around the text, and the various basic colors are painted in. This step is where it is really important to try and have the colors look balanced around the page, and looking at the medieval originals is very helpful as a guide. I had some difficulty with this in the first three words, and ended up needing to mix a third color in order to have it all work out neatly. If I only remembered to do some color sketches ahead of time, much difficulty would be avoided... remember that for future scribal efforts.

Once the base layers of paint are in place, the outlines are reinforced. I tend to use  01 and 005 black Sakura Pigma Micron pens. All the white line decoration is also added, using permanent white gouache, and my best sable brush. It isn't a small brush, but it holds a very fine point.

A closer look at the finished detailing on the foliated capital "T", and the assorted upper left, and central right border decorations. I mostly use Holbein gouache paint, though the blue is Winsor Newton sky blue. I used Fintec Arabian Gold metallic watercolor, and Holbein pure red, terra verde green, permanent white, and two mixed pale colors: terra verte + white and alizarin crimson + white. The foliage was shaded with emerald green, or burnt umber.


All in all, exploring the Luttrell Psalter is an activity that never becomes stale, there is always more to see and learn. I am particularly wanting to dive into examining the tiny line fillers, and also add the various ways of representing foliage to my scribal pattern model book. I need to do more calligraphy practice, in the hope that more frequent writing will help my letters become more consistent. I'd really like to figure out what color, or combination of colors, will give me that pinkish color that isn't bright warm red... That said, this scroll does meet my personal test, of "would I like it if it were hanging on my wall" and I can only hope that whoever does receive it feels the same way
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beauty in the time of isolation:

a different view of the Luttrell Psalter
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 two bone Viking threadwinders
planted herbs  bag of old fur
8 original Luttrell-inspired scroll
x yard waste bin
9 x x recycle bin
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 good paints, and a few good brushes, and access to the British Library, as well as other international libraries, all without leaving my living room. Twenty years ago none of that would be true!

*assorted clips from the Luttrell Psaltervarious pages I looked at:




>





Monday, April 19, 2021

between first and second sleep - day 38 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine has oddly disordered bedtimes...

so, Saturday was my second jab (Pfizer), for which I am extremely grateful. The same efforts as for jab #1, extra range of motion arm movement and increased hydration, while they surely made a difference, did not stave off the noticeable effects of my immune system learning how to protect me from the virus. While the first twelve hours or so were uneventful, by the time Saturday night rolled around, my arm was quite definitely sore.

Sunday, after my before-breakfast walk, there was generalised malaise and vague aches + headache, brain fuzzier than usual.  As the day went on, feeling "under the weather" increased, with the sense of  almost as if someone had turned the gravity dial up to a higher number than usual. Finally at about 7:30 I gave up and went to bed, falling asleep almost immediately, only to wake again at about a quarter to midnight. Still feeling puny, but not really able to fall back asleep.

Rather than lie abed fretting over insomnia, an hour or so washing the dishes (that I'd been too tired to deal with earlier) seemed like a useful and not strenuous midnight task. In ages past, most humans did not sleep a solid eight hours, but their sleep was divided in two parts. HOPEFULLY MONDAY WILL BE A BETTER LESS REACTIVE DAY
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 today's gratitude - being home, being able to rest as needed, being able to get vaccinated

Friday, April 16, 2021

dry bones - day 35 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine restarts a project...

in the before times, one of my SCA goals was to create plausible contents of a Viking Age sewing kit*. Since deciding to participate in Athenaeum later this year, I want to make some new artifacts, and get back to doing a bit more research
These are Viking Age style threadwinders, based on finds from Birka (8 - 10th c). The two originals are made from antler slabs; as I do not have antler slabs on hand to work with, these are made of cow bone, but actual dimensions. Bone is easy to work with hand tools, as long as you take careful precautions to not inhale the fine dust created when sawing/filing/drilling etc. Once I did the rough cutting to shape, I switched to using my alundum hand grinding stones used under running water, for my lungs safety sake. While alundum is a modern compostite of aluminum oxide, in the Viking Age, sandstone and other abrasive rocks were available (whetstone pendants have been found) though I do not know if they were used in shaping bone and antler.

Here is an image of the larger of the two threadwinders from Birka:

Links to the museum website pages with the originals: small thread winder and large thread winder
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 two bone Viking threadwinders
x bag of old fur
8 x x yard waste bin
9 x x recycle bin
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 - Back in 2017, in the Before Times, my friend Drusa made me this exquisite Scandinavian style workbox, which while it isn't exactly the type made in Viking times, is too precious to me to leave sitting on a shelf. Objects of beauty are made to be used...
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To be of use - by Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half-submerged balls.


I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.


I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.


The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

little bit further than you gone before - day 34 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine makes another bit of progress...

Today started off most excellently, with a package in the mailbox that was an unexpected treat. I then managed to go out for a walk before breakfast, if only about a mile. Might go for another walk after dinner, it is crazy warm and sunny here! (why did I not get sunglasses last year when I ordered new spex?) Thursday afternoons K and I connect via video and focus on declutter or other challenges, so much easier with someone else "there"; today I cleared the mess from my workbench, either putting things away, or finding better ways to store things. It now looks inviting rather than dreadful. I have an idea of making a sawblade holder for the benchtop, that will allow for labeled sections for each different fineness of tooth. Every small improvement makes a big difference.
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~ creativity challenge ~
Tuesday night was a Caid College of Scribes class on drolleries in the Luttrell Psalter, and we practiced both copying examples, and creating our own combinations... it was fun! Today I spent an hour or so in the middle of the day watching a presentation on Manuscript Crafts put on by "The Háskóli Íslands Student Conference on the Medieval North: A student-organized conference intended as an interdisciplinary forum for students of Old Norse and medieval Scandinavia." Learned some new things about pigment availability, and some additional details about bookbinding. Hoping to learn more in the future about Carolingian style calligraphy.
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at the very end of 2020 I did some pattern hacking to my TNT knit top pattern. Adding a turtleneck option was very successful, as most of the time when wearing a long sleeve knit top, extra warmth is the idea. Adding "thumbhole cuffs" turned out to be a less desirable hack, as it turns out that for me my handknit mitts are preferable to the longer integral thumbhole cuffs, which I find are somewhat awkward to wiggle out of for hand washing, and which look quite odd when folded back. Since I dearly love my mushroom print tops, I decided to remove the offending portion, which left the cuffs narrow but acceptable. Cut off the thumbhole edge, leaving the cuffs as long as possible (1¼"), basted the raw edges inside on the outer and inner layers, basted them together, and then hand stitched in an overcast as close to the edge as possible, Alabama Chanin style. It was relaxing handwork during an evening Zoom meeting, and the knit top is much more pleasant to wear now.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
there are a few outliers in the assorted springtime flowers in the front border. The only tulip, and a red that clashes with everything else in the yard, but I cannot bring myself to remove it. Some Queen of the Night tulips, in almost black, would look quite splendid with the hyacinths and violets... perhaps the red tulip could get relocated to the front corner planting, and given a few colorful friends to add delight to the sidewalk passers-by
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
remove thumbhole cuffs bag of fabric
7 x x bag of old fur
8 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 - a care package arrived today from my Mud Bay pals: an assortment of Japanese stationery stickers, a lovely little notebook with three different kinds of paper inside, and a card from Kestrel, decorated with Totoro stickers. There is little that I love more than I love kid art.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

gathering - day 33 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine takes a baby step towards the opposite of feral...

today I woke up with an actual positive task in mind... creating a private outdoor biffy spot behind my carport next to the back door to Acorn Cottage. That spot is already fairly screened from view, and once there were taut paracord lines tied in, or closet rod wedged between the downspout and the fence, I was able to use various fabric pieces as "curtains" and enclosed a space actually larger than the indoor bathroom here. I hung some toilet paper from the back of the potting bench, put out some hand sanitiser, and added a wastepaper basket, which covered everything except the actual commode. My good friend Ursel had acquired an extra "luggable loo" and once that arrived, now there is a safe and socially distant spot for friends to deal with bio breaks!

This plan had been in the works for quite a while, but it has been much too cold and rainy for any sort of extended outdoor visiting. Today though, was very warm and sunny, and Ursel, Gersvinda, and Claire all converged in my front yard for a wonderful outdoor social (which we had discussed the possibility of at the most recent online Saturday Shindig) All of us have had at least one vaccination. It was almost like Earth That Was, except for the not-hugging,  the six-foot-or-more distance, and the mask-wearing. (we did remove them briefly for eating of snacks, and for hydration maintenance) While I was still a bit jumpy, it was a good baby step towards being safely around other people.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
It is springtime, and flowers bloom everywhere. Grape hyacinth and wood hyacinth, tulips and pink violets, the last of the forsythia, and todays warmth brought open the first of the quince blossoms. There were honeybees, and bumblebees buzzing loudly around the yard. Sneezing is endemic.
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With the intention of creating larger raised planters for things like growing more tomatoes, it seemed like a useful idea to convert at least one of the currently unused blue 55 gallon barrels. A sharpie marking the halfway point, Claire then used her special oscillating saw to cut through the plastic. Hooray for power tools! Then I remembered I had a hole saw set, which seemed like just the right thing to add drainage holes to the bottom. While I'd never used a hole saw before, it was not too difficult to figure out how to set it up, and it worked a charm.

There are now two 27 gallon planters which need filled with garden soil and compost, and will add substantially to the growing space in the back yard. My hope is to grow additional tomatoes this year, and some cucumbers, to restart the salad table, and to put the Patio Baby eggplant somewhere I can keep an eye on it... The baby nightshades had an excursion outside today, as it was really warm, and I figured that the increased light and warmth would do them good.
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
temporary biffy
bag of fabric
6 two large blue planters
x bag of fabric
7 x x bag of old fur
8 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 - a gathering of four friends, nearly normal... and so very grateful for Claire's help with the barrel to planter project today

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sunday snippets - day 30 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine is still struggling...

small exhaustions and allergies and despair. I want to sleep all the time, but when lying down to rest it proves evasive. My spring pollen allergies have suddenly come roaring back and only that I remember how this happens every year keeps me from asking for a covid test. Despair, because the situation with my mom does not improve, indeed this is an ongoing series of gates that only move in one direction.

Yesterday I woke up with my left eyelid all puffed out and slightly sore, though fortunately I have no other concerning symptoms and can open the eye and sight is no different than normal. No idea why, allergies? infection?. The consulting nurse hotline was not much use as far as how to proceed. It is no worse today, though only maybe a little improved. I shall continue with the compresses, and hope that by tomorrow it will be obviously on the mend, else some medical attention is needed.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
spring unfolds... the plum thicket is beginning to flower, there are flower buds just barely peeping out on the quince and the apple tree. The star magnolia is mostly done, and the white lawn violets have given way to the more prevalent pink ones in the walkway bed along with accents of grape hyacinth... the one red tulip, and signs of future wood hyacinth as well. The forsythia in the parking strip is beginning to fade, and the ornamental plum flowers on the big front yard trees have fallen, leaving the yard strewn with a lighter pink snow and the light dappled by the new grown dark red leaves
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the mini-poncho I made back in 2017 just sat in my closet unworn for the better part of seven years. The yarn was quite nice, but it never fit me quite right... the shoulders too broad, and the collar was too high and mighty to be comfy. Now that is is turned back into balls of yarn, perhaps a cardigan instead, with some colorwork added. Or maybe a variation on that stripey sleeve bolero.
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The skirret plant that Eleanor gave me last autumn has survived the winter, and now is showing strong new growth. I am so pleased. Since the leafy bits are getting too tall to be crushed under the flat mesh and weighted bicycle wheel I used for squirrel deterrence all winter, I wrestled with more of the wire mesh to make a tall cylinder to protect the growing plant. I've no idea how large skirret will become this year, must ask E for advice, but this should hold it for a while...

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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 wire planter cage
cover smaller sleeve board
yard waste bin
2 prototype mesh wash bag
cover larger sleeve board
recycle bin
3 5 jars blood orange marmalade
baby plants repotted
bag of fabric
4 3 jars Awesome sauce
skirret cage adapted
bag of fabric
5 4 jars strawberry rhubarb sauce
x bag of fabric
6 x x bag of fabric
7 x x -
8 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 - Although I missed their visit early this morning, Randal and Leah came by, and left me with two artichoke plants, and assortment of flavored vinegar, and a new pottery mug of carved multicolor clay! I was sad I was asleep when they came by, as visitors are rare and precious.

The new mug will be very welcome, as yesterday gravity took its toll when I bumped my favorite vintage mug off the counter while doing the dishes. That mug is shards, but the empty space on the wall will have a new denizen...