Tuesday, March 30, 2021

enclosure - day 18 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine gets some yard work done...

I really need to get back to my plan for creating some leather work gloves for myself. I made the pattern, I have several types of suitable leather. My poor paws are both scratched and bleeding from tree twigs, and rough and dry from repeated handwashings. Hindsight is 20/20.
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kitchen art wall... The DIY wooden brackets for the vintage Couroc that also allow it to be easily removed, have finally been installed. I found the tray at a yard sale years ago, and love the iconic San Francisco motifs (Fisherman's Wharf, Coit Tower, cable car, etc...) Now I can enjoy seeing it every day. Was quite a design challenge to figure out how to attach it to the wall.

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this sort of protection is a necessity for any tender food plants or seedlings. I found a parsley plant growing amongst a big patch of chickweed, when starting to refurbish the salad table, and decided to repot it into a bigger and deeper planter... in the 24 hours between my doing that and this afternoon, a good chunk of the new potting soil was on the porch floor. So, my yardwork task of the day was to wrassle with some of the wire mesh to create a temporary squirrel-proof cloche.
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There was an attempt made at stuffed baked pork chops. While techincally edible, it was not a success. I suspect that the difference between tender succulence and dry-as-dust is only a few degrees of heat or minutes of time. I don't usually cook pork chops. While the flavor of the dried fruit/port wine/pecan stuffing was a great compliment to the meat, the meat itself was sadly overcooked, fibrous, and bland. I'd have done better to simply slice the chops into thin stir fry bits and made a sauce with the filling.
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The other thing that got done this afternoon was about an hour and a half of pruning/cleaning up the Japanese maple tree next to the front porch. I was about a week late to the task, as it has begun to show signs of spring growth - buds and even a few unfurling leaves. It helps my aesthetic sense to clear away all the twigs and branches that died over the winter, and some minimal pruning, to remove any branches that are starting to cross over one another and rub, or some that are drooping so low as to interfere with mowing...
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
extra apples
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
yard waste bin
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
alter An Tir knit top
-
9 rainbow baby cardigan
wall mount Couroc tray
x
10 rainbow baby hat
refurbish apron straps
x
11 rainbow baby booties
prune Japanese maple
x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude -
I know when to stop (sometimes)... both pruning, and dealing with wire mesh, and yard work in general, tend to break me. I think I stopped soon enough today that I am only tired. Also, this pocket saw is really a champ, folds safely, not to heavy or large for my pockets, and does exactly what it is described as in the catalog... would recommend 10/10

Monday, March 29, 2021

Monday miscellany and media - day 17 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine continues with small improvements...
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been continuing have finished the slow work on the wall bracketing for holding the Couroc tray... decided that painting it black would be least obtrusive, since the various wood scraps were all different. I used the "strip of masking tape on the drill bit" trick as a depth gauge for the small wood screws, and colored the part of the metal anchor that overlapped the wall bracket with Sharpie pen; once attached to the wall, painted the other halves with some of the touch-up wall paint. It might be kludgy, since a woodworker I am not, but it is at least careful and thoughtful kludge; now the pretty tray is where I can see it every day...
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rainbow knitwear set for Little Kumquat...
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
extra apples
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
-
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
alter An Tir knit top
-
9 rainbow baby cardigan
wall mount Couroc tray
x
10 rainbow baby hat
refurbish apron straps
x
11 rainbow baby booties
x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

today's gratitude - a lifetime of small knowledge and skills, and a houseful of bits and bobs and random tools... without which, much of what I would envision would never become real

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Saturday snippets - day 15 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine feels slight inklings of a desire to learn new things and revisit former SCA research trails...

but for now, simply getting through the everyday, gradually making progress towards eventual clarity of space and thought will have to suffice. I did manage to get some very small plum trees from the backyard dug up and sent across the street to the new neighbors. My weekend goal is to clear off one small additional flat surface, to start the samara earrings for Neighbor Girl, and to enjoy the online company of friends and family. Somehow, I keep getting sidetracked with knitting rainbow things for Little Kumquat, which, while amusing, is not currently needful...
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The brackets to hold my Couroc tray on the wall have been slowly taking shape from assorted wood scraps, carefully cut and sanded and glued together. The hardware ordered last week arrived, and the smallest wood screws are VERY TINY indeed, much too small to be of use for this, they may instead be useful for Caer Cardboard. The medium size screws (¾") however, are like baby bear, just right... and will serve to attach the wee angle brackets to both the wooden supports and to the wall itself. Now the next step is to finish the wood in an unobtrusive black, and though I have no black paint, I do have some Jacquard "Dye-Na-Flow", which is a dye-like acrylic paint, originally purchased by accident, but should work well in this context according to the manufacturer. Stay tuned for further progress reports...
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I splurged, and ordered two (slightly different) fat quarters of this fabric, to make some baprons for Little Kumquat. I couldn't resist... the colors, and the playful (and non-gendered) motifs on the fabric made me smile so hard (and it is "dark" enough for food stains not to be as obvious)
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
extra apples
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
3 baby plum trees 
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
alter An Tir knit top
-
9 rainbow baby cardigan
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 friends that include me in their plans

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Thursday thoughts - day 13 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine makes and mends...

~ creativity challenge ~

portion of decorative sleeve graphics
back in 2019, I turned two An Tir tee shirts into a long sleeve knit top for myself... but recently decided that (most of) my knit tops would be more wearable if they had turtleneck collars, particularly as I had successfully drafted a pattern piece for just such a pattern hack earlier this year. There wasn't any more of the original fabric left , but a looksee on the resource shelves turned up enough black cotton/lycra to both craft a new warmer neckline, and also add some needed ease via gussets in the sleeves. (cotton t-shirt fabric is less inherently stretchy than cotton/lycra)
the original neck binding stitched down in red,new turtleneck addition stitched in place at the upper edge of the neck binding in black. It only took a few days of spare time hand sewing to finish the remodel of the top; it will get a lot more wear both currently and again when the cool weather returns in the autumn...
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a new baby due in October will need be kept warm... it delights me to be able to add my handknits to the preparations. More yarn has been ordered for a matching hat and booties, and some colorful fabric to make baprons and a stuffed puzzle ball. There might be a knitted vest, or an octopus rattle, or some little felt shoes...
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beauty in the time of isolation:

Magnolia stellata
"star magnolia"
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
extra apples
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
-
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
alter An Tir knit top
-
9 rainbow baby cardigan
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 - assorted wood scraps to play with... I'm trying to put together a wall bracket to hold my Couroc tray

Monday, March 22, 2021

illuminations and minor delight - day 10 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine notices a lightening of spirit...

not just in the literal sense as the year slowly turns toward longer days, but that somehow post first vaccine there is a sense of potential arising. While I know that the overall slow slide towards disaster that is western "civilisation" is not changing, the micro level of individual life here may at least for a time improve. While I cannot imagine returning to unmasked public life, I can imagine being able to feel the touch of a friends hand, some of the hugs we have so missed over the last year. There may be some bright spots in the unknown future. One keeps a light on in the window, that hope may find her long lost way here...
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~ creativity challenge ~
 
So this weekend Ursel and I were chatting about how difficult it is to find commercially available ceiling lights at any kind of affordable price point that weren't hideous. I woke up this morning with a brilliant? idea... what if I used commercial basic fixtures for holding the light bulbs and attaching to ceiling, but created my own "lampshades". Given that LED lights do not throw out much if any heat, it should be possible to use paper mache/reed structures to diffuse the light, rather like my bluebird lantern, or the HiiH artist light fixtures. Years ago, I learned how to create sculptural reed/rice paper lanterns at a Procession of the Species workshop put on by the Fremont Arts Council. It would be fun to revisit those techniques, and to make something creative and beautiful in order to finally rid Acorn Cottage of the Horrible Ceiling Fans.
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The scone for one was a successful experiment. The recipe worked well, though I made a few changes: decreasing the salt to a pinch instead of a quarter teaspoon, and substituting two T dry milk + 2½ T water for wet milk. The scone didn't rise as high as expected, which may be a function of the age of my baking powder, but the texture was quite good. This will be a good recipe for shortcake season!
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
extra apples
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
-
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
x -
9 - 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 - Bob's Red Mill dry milk, and dry buttermilk are shelf stable ways to have dairy on hand for cooking. This has proved invaluable over the last year. While not a good substitute as far as flavor for drinking, for soups, sauces, and baked goods they work really well.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Saturday snippets - day 8 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine wishes all and sundry a happy equinox...

as we are all here in the balance point between seasons, I'm minded to notice signs of spring, both in the small world that has been my enclosure for the last year, and in the outer world. I needn't call your attention to the many terrors and troubles that beset us, media both social and antisocial does that without my assistance. Rather, I attempt to share the small crumbs of hope that are also always there. Without science, I'd not be here in the bright world at all, for cancer would have gathered me in, as it did my childhood friend the same year I was diagnosed.

almost 24 hours since jab #1... vaccination site in upper arm is a bit sore, but not enough to have impaired sleep or affected movement. I think that my purposefully moving my arm a lot yesterday in various range of motions, and drinking almost twice my usual amount of water made a difference. Just enough very mild discomfort in my arm that I can tell that my immune system is getting the message...


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~ creativity challenge ~
My friend Matthew Michael created this charter design, an interesting visual concept that gives the effect of a fragmentary artwork, uncovered by archaeologists. I've chosen to play with the idea by painting it as if it were a fragment of a mosaic/stone floor (which is even slower than my usual snails pace scribal efforts, but I am loving how it is turning out... another few hours and it will be finished.
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I signed up to participate in Athenaeum, at the end of June. It is an SCA Arts & Sciences display event, so rather than a competition, instead of judging there is an opportunity for feedback, which is all I ever want anyway. Am going to think about which items to include, and what things I want to try and work on prior to then. My primary categories are enameling, scribal, embroidery, and block printing, with an assortment of additional kibbles and bits.
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beauty in the time of isolation:
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ornamental quince flowers really early in the year, much earlier than fruiting quince... the buds were a few weeks ago, and now in the alleys here and there the vivid red flowers are a delight! I would really like to add one of these shrubs to the yard here at Acorn Cottage
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A friend is hosting an online Zoom high tea party tomorrow. The sort of tea with little sandwiches, and scones with jam and cream, and tiny cakes. I have a teapot with a handknit cozy, and a fancy teacup. I have some shortbread stashed away, and bread to make a few wee sandwiches. So now I want to try this recipe for making one scone. Because I don't need a whole batch of scones for just me. But just one scone would be fun, and possibly repeatable...
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
extra apples
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
-
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
x -
9 - 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 - an entire internet full of recipes

Friday, March 19, 2021

vaccination day - day 7 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine is both excited and nervous...

Don't recall ever being so keyed up about a medical procedure. Hope it all goes smoothly. Back later today with an update and a more regular sort of blog post. TTFN!
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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Tuesday tidbits- day 4 (year 2)

in which our plucky heroine makes some incremental progress...

while I still struggle with "isolation brain", there has been at least one notable improvement in the surroundings. This afternoon my friend Elanor and I spent two hours connected on video, each working on particular projects, but with "company" while doing so. It worked surprisingly well, and now the standing work table in the workroom has been completely cleared off. Been meaning to get to that for weeks, nay, months... 95% of what was there has been relocated, either properly put away, or tidied onto a shelf. I have a surprising amount of block printing stuff: ink and blocks and carving tools and blank blocks. Need to figure out a better way to store all of those supplies.
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 91 ~
2nd charter painting of the year... I particularly love this design, of stylised Scythian horses, and had saved painting the saddle blanket until last, so as to look at the original artifact for inspiration. However, instead of just copying the entire historical design, I was inspired to paint the badge of the Order of the Mountain Sun* on the saddle blanket instead...

* "Given in recognition of exceptional performance in the Arts and/or Sciences in the Barony."
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Late last night finished putting up six jars of mixed citrus marmalade, mostly from the mutual aid, with one large, very dark, blood orange mixed in, as well as the frozen cubes of leftover pink grapefruit. Now that I know to cook marmalade just until it reaches 219°F, the results are a slightly thinner set, but nice soft peel, which is my preferred result.

Next up in the preserving kettle will be applesauce, as about two dozen apples need dealt with soon. Been thinking about my preserving year "calendar"... first is citrus (late winter/early spring), then strawberry rhubarb (late spring), then a long gap until tomatoes, and plums, and tomatillos (late summer/autumn) and then quince and apple (early winter/winter). Other things are preserved as they show up, things like garlic scapes for pickling, or the various herbs and mushrooms that sometimes arrive unexpectedly and need a good spin through the dehydrator, as do the parking-strip   persimmons (late autumn)
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beauty in the time of isolation
Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii
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Updating some of my face masks, as a few of the ones I sewed earlier last year have had the very thin fabric I used for the liner actually fall to shreds in the laundry. In addition, switching to a round the head tie instead of ear loops has made them much less painful to wear. There was a length of some kind of synthetic/lycra knit fabric on the shelf here which when cut into 3/8" strips is perfect for ties, just as stretchy but much softer than regular elastic... Also cut and shaped a bunch of nose wires; I find that adding a narrow casing at the top for the wires allows them to be removed before laundering and washed in the sink separately. Now if only mask wearing did not aggravate my rosacea.
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Medical news of friends and family: My friend Sharon's condition is not improving, despite it being long enough since from her cranial surgery for the swelling to have subsided, she still is unable to communicate effectively either speaking or writing. My friend Mickey has been having symptoms (peripheral numbness combined with intense back pain) consistent with the possible failure of his spinal fusion of a few years ago, and we are all greatly worried. My mom is making incremental improvement in walking further in the apartment, and seems more alert than previously, though still with memory impairment. My dad had minor side effects from his second vaccine, basically sudden need of napping.
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
-
5 charter #1
rain capelet binding
-
6 Black Ice cardigan
new mask elastics
-
7 charter #2
new mask nosewires
-
8 6 jars sumo marmalade
x -
9 - 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 - it was a warm sunny day, and the second time that it has been possible this year to put laundry out on the line to dry!

Friday, March 12, 2021

a year's duration - day 365

in which our plucky heroine casts her memory back...

a year ago today was three days after my periodontal bone graft surgery, and I spent the day all around the city doing a massive grocery shop in four different stores (Costco, Trader Joes, Fubonn, and YaHala), then hopped on my bike to the local New Seasons, Fred Meyers, Walgreens, (and even to the liquor store for a bottle of Everclear, since hand sanitizer was unavailable). Then the doors of Acorn Cottage shut for the duration. It's been a long strange trip, and it isn't over...
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beauty in the time of isolation
It is springtime, there are a few white violets starting to bloom here, there is a clump of blue violets just down the street, and while out on a sanity stroll, these pale violet violets caught my eye...
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One long needed household alteration turned out to be quite simple, although rather time consuming... This wall-mounted power strip is a very needed change in the kitchen. The 1950's kitchen is really lacking electric outlets* and those aren't in convenient spots. Now I shall no longer need to move the whole side table to access the outlet before using the slow cooker, or the food dehydrator; can't believe it took over ten years for me to think of this!

After clearing the windowsill to allow the shelf extension to be removed, I cut/carved a channel aligned with the center of the window, then replaced the shelf (trapping the cord in place). A template of the locations of the attachment screws on the back of the power strip was next, and after drilling pilot holes and screwing the four of them into the window upright (leaving just the right amount stuck out) to allow the power bar to slide into place, a long time annoyance is now dealt with.
I then went on to readjust the wobbly power strip in the workroom, and to attach the extra long surge protector next to the computer zone, with the idea of moving the laptop back into the computer zone, now that it will be possible to properly plug in all the various parts, each with their associated transformer box. *there are three, unless you count the one for the fridge and the special one for the stove.
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my Black Ice cardigan is basically completed, and has proved to be as cozy as I'd hoped for, though I am still trying to decide if adding embroidery is a good call, and also if I want to extend the cuffs using ribbing. The loop closures and the large matte black buttons work really well. I marked the button locations with chalk, and then with large safety pins, so I could locate the loops on the other side while doing the second of three rows of I-cord:

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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
power bar kitchen
random books
3 5 jars applesauce
power bar workshop
recycle bin
4 horseradish long power bar computer
-
5 charter #1
- -
6 Black Ice cardigan
- -
7 - - -
8 - x -
9 - 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 - yesterday I was able to get an appointment to get a Covid vaccine! In a week I will be going to the drive-thru site out at the airport, and my pal Aelflaed was willing to reschedule some of her Friday work meetings in order to be able to drive me there. Truly I am blessed with my friends and family

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

don't fear the scissors - day 362

in which our plucky heroine almost has a new cardigan...

...my Black Ice cardigan has been a challenge, despite being touted as a simple fast project. In part, because my own body is a different shape than the one the sweater was originally designed for, and in the other part because I added a number of additional variables into the mix!

The first change I did was to add some short rows in the front to create bosom darts, as I am rather amply endowed. I've done this a few times with my handknits, and it really helps. I had planned all along to make a cardigan rather than a pullover, which meant steeking the center front, which went smoothly, except for some reason the cardigan then became LOT wider than planned, and the fronts overlapped for almost four inches! (and the neckline came much higher on my neck in the front than I found comfortable.)

So... chalk marked the desired adjustment to the central width, machine stitched a safety line, and cut away several inches on both sides, then chalked the desired neck contour and did the same thing. The neckline got a ribbed border that rolled over and was stitched back down, completely enclosing the cut edges, and the center front is getting a triple I-cord border, with loop closures and some matte black buttons

The only other issue is that I have narrow shoulders and short arms. The pattern has knitted in shoulder shaping, which I was able to block/smooth out with my Wonderful Steam Iron, and the sleeve length is pretty easy to adjust. I initially ended the sleeves with an I-cord border to match the center front, but it doesn't look quite the way I imagined it, and I will probably re-do with ribbing instead

Now that it is almost but not quite completely done, I'm debating whether to leave it as a plain black cardigan, or (as in my original idea) to add embroidered decoration to the front yoke area... am tempted to just leave it plain black, as that way it can serve as a background for various decorative brooches. The doubled yarn made a delightfully "bouncy" and cozy knitted fabric, and it should be perfect for both wearing around the house in the winter, and for wearing underneath a rain shell in inclement weather.
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experimental condiment creation - horseradish. There has been a horseradish plant growing in the parking strip for years now, ever since Cindy brought a start over here. There was a gap in the rainy weather, so I tipped over the ceramic cylinder it resides in, which gave me easy access to the roots without having to actually dig. I sliced off a smallish root and put the planter cylinder back upright, replacing the roots and soil, and then topping it off with some compost/mulch.

Taking the root into the kitchen, it needed scrubbed and then peeled, which left me with a somewhat pungent thick pencil sized root, with irregular placess that needed cut away, as it wasn't a smooth shape, but had obviously grown around rocks etc... It was quite hard, more like wood than root vegetable, but I chopped it into ⅛" or smaller dice, and used my wee food processor to chop it finer than that, after adding enough water. Strained out the solids, and added a tablespoon of vinegar and a pinch of salt to the tablespoon or so of horseradish. I'm going to let it sit overnight before tasting...
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My oldest friend Sharon is being moved from the hospital to rehab after her craniotomy on Saturday, to continue physical healing, to safely receive weeks of IV antibiotics, and to hopefully recover some of her ability to communicate and remember things. My friend Heather, Sharon's daughter, just had her 10 week ultrasound, and there is definitely a little future child of her and Brandon growing in there. For which I have already started knitting a baby sweater. Like I do... (I've rather lost count of the baby sweaters and bits I have knit over the years)
yarn is KnitPicks "cloudy with a chance of rainbows" and is just a touch more subtly greyed than the usual rainbow yarn. I like it very much as far as color, and since it is superwash merino blended with nylon, it can be tossed in the washer, which is rather a necessity for the modern infant. It is very soft.
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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
-random books
3 5 jars applesauce
- -
4 horseradish - -
5 charter #1
- -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - x -
9 - 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 when I spoke with my mom, she remembered the part of the conversation we had yesterday and asked after Sharon. Bits of short term memory. Also she told me that she walked halfway to the other end of the apartment without using her walker. (which was confirmed by my dad, and is further than she has been able to walk in months!) While there is no healing from her condition, any temporary respite and signs of strength are worth celebrating.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

endeavor to persevere - day 360

in which our plucky heroine grasps bootstraps firmly...

I had good habits previously, and shall do my best to reinstate them. I might not enjoy going out for walks when it is raining, but physical movement is good for my creaturely self, and  even pacing in circles in my neighborhood I need to can remind self that seeking tiny and overlooked beauty is always worthwhile
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~ 100 day creativity challenge - day 90 ~
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so, I made a thing... Maeva asked me to make a kuspuk for little Kestrel, who is very fond of the delightful educational PBS Kids cartoon "Molly of Denali". While the basic idea of how the garment goes together is straightforward, adding the inset center front zipper was rather a bit of a mind-bender, since it intersects the lined hood. I also stitched down all the edges of the giant vintage rickrack, so that it will be able to go through the laundry without incident.

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My oldest friend Sharon has had a rough time of it in the last week, what was initially diagnosed at urgent care as an ear infection (with a side of dysphasia) turned out instead to be a brain abscess! When Heather couldn't get the primary doctor on the phone yesterday, Heather's husband took Sharon to the ER at St Pete's. After many tests, she had cranial surgery last night and is in the ICU today, and looking at weeks of recovery, if all goes well... I hope that she will be able to recover her verbal acuity and function, I can envision few things more terrifying/frustrating than being present on the inside, but not having the ability to communicate.
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beauty in the time of isolation -

springtime is on the way...
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Yea, verily, though I walk through the valley of the suck,
I fear not, for I knoweth that practice makes progress...

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March SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 Kestrel kuspuk
darned Totoro gloves
recycle bin
2 6 jars orange marmalade
-random books
3 5 jars applesauce
- -
4 - - -
5 -- -
6 - - -
7 - - -
8 - x -
9 - 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 accessible tech that allows me to almost instantly have video communication with friends and family at great distances. There was a delightful shared video this morning of little Kestrel opening the package with her kuspuk, trying it on, and thanking me for the gift.. as well as several later in the day zoom sessions with my siblings, and with M in Seattle... all of which reminded me that despite isolation, I am not alone in spirit.

Friday, March 5, 2021

exhausted

in which our plucky heroine is tired...

after 358 days of self isolation with no companions human or animal, or any way to escape my immediate surroundings to find renewal in the natural world, I'm definitely feeling the effects on my mental health. I'd hoped by now to have figured out how to continue, and regain some equanimity. I'm at the grit yr teeth, just keep on, this is the new normal forever stage of your life, and I struggle now to recall the point of living.

I'm not in danger, I have food and shelter, but at this point most all of what made life worthwhile, all the parts of the life I had built that (while it wasn't what I had hoped for, at least it made a kind of sense) sustained me, it is all gone. All I can notice right now are all the erroneous choices I made over the years, that cannot be repaired. I never was able to learn how to be a partner to another human, despite years, nay decades of trying my hardest. I live in an urban city with good public transit, which up til the pandemic meant that my choice to no longer own a car was sensible, and now leaves me trapped in a one mile radius from my house.

I feel wrong, even speaking out when so many of my friends struggle with much heavier burdens, but perhaps it helps someone else to know that I, who look from the outside like all is well, is still desperately treading water on the inside...