Sunday, October 22, 2017

Sunday snippets

in which our plucky heroine is rather tired...

Horrible nightmares early this morning of trying to escape wildfires, where what looked like rising fog turned into smoke just ahead of fires on two sides of a valley... Back in the late eighties, the year I lived in the hills north of Sandpoint, we had a level 2 evacuation alert for forest fire. As a child in SoCal the hills burned almost every summer, so it isn't surprising that fire is in my database as a danger, just not one that usually shows up in my Dreamlands*.
※※※

Perhaps I am not the only one that feels ambivalent about the invasion of my kitchen by tiny sugar ants. It happens pretty much every year around this time, when the weather gets cold and wet. Suddenly they are all over my countertops, despite my efforts to keep the counters clean. And every year I wish I had some way to just ask them to not show up, but instead, every year I kill them. Mix together several common household pantry items, a spoonful or two of peanut butter, the same of sugar, and the same of borax (which I keep on hand both for occasional laundry use, and as a backup flux for soldering). After mashing those together, I add in just enough water to make a thickish slurry, so it will be both irresistible to the ants and easy for them to carry back to their colony, where it will also kill any other ants that eat it. This can be placed in small shallow containers where no children or pets can access them, and in a few days, the ants will be gone...
※※※

Inktober continues...

21. furious


22. trail
※※※

all the blustery weather has done a great job of knocking down lots of bay nuts from the local trees; I intend to collect some in the next few days. They do require quite a bit of processing, though. The last few years I have totally missed their very short season. I have a cunning plan, that hopefully will work out, if I can gather at least a pound or two...
※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2 puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedbag to Goodwill
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened bag to Goodwill
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe bag to Goodwill
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries bag to Goodwill
6 five Inktober drawings treerat mesh cloche #2 bag to Goodwill
7 four more Inktobers planted green onions bag to Goodwill
8 another three Inktobers wheelbarrow tire yard waste bin
9 three more Inktobers workroom wall patched x
10 two Inktobers studio shelf sides x
11 laser cut wreath x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x
※※※

* There are specific and interconnected neighborhoods, places, and buildings that I return to again and again when I am asleep, I call them the Dreamlands, and someday I will draw a map of them in my bright world life... it would be interesting

Saturday, October 21, 2017

fun with laser cutting


in which our plucky heroine is out on a most blustery day...

while normally weather like this is perfect for indoor chores and creations, today was also the final day of the Intermediate Digital Design for the Laser Cutter workshop out at Rockwood Makerspace, which is about two hours each way on transit, fortunately with only one transfer, and that one has bus shelters! There was enough time this morning for me to not only cut out the tiny wooden box that was our assigned project, but to do a bit more with Illustrator and use what I had learned in class to create and cut out another piece:
This circular motif, which is intended to become another block for fabric printing, is about 5" diameter. It will need to be glued to a sturdy backing board first, as the openwork makes it relatively delicate. My inspiration for this design, which combines a leafy wreath with wee pomegranates, was this 4th to 6th C silk samite woven fabric. I took a drawing I made (that was a quarter of the circle) and then copied, mirrored, and joined it all together digitally to create this design and prepare it for laser cutting... I very much hope that there will be additional Library makerspace access granted to adults, as this is a wonderful resource as well as great fun.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday fragments


in which our plucky heroine can barely look beyond the cottage walls...

IMHO Xandy Peters is a genius of a knit designer... just look at her newly released "Fly Away" scarf pattern... Later on this winter, I will dive back into the peculiar world of stacked increases and decreases. Fox Paws was one of the most unusual, satisfying, and challenging knitting projects, and this looks to be equally wearable and visually different than any of my other knitwear...
※※※

More Inktober drawings:

13. teeming


14. fierce


15. mysterious


16. fat


17. graceful


18. filthy


19.cloud
※※※

Just for the record, this is the progress so far turning the open shelving in the workroom into closed cupboards.  After removing the upper shelves, which were only accessible using a stepstool, and repairing the wall with spackle and paint, last night I attached the side panels to the shelving. Still need to create and attach blocking to the wall, and the front of the shelves, to make tracks for the masonite sliding doors. The doors will be latched, or rather lashed in place with cordage and cleats attached to the side panels, the whole plan intended as part of the ongoing earthquake safety efforts here at the cottage...
※※※

I didn't realise til tonight that this song, long a favorite, was actually written by Mary McCaslin and Jim Ringer...

※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2 puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedbag to Goodwill
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened bag to Goodwill
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe bag to Goodwill
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries bag to Goodwill
6 five Inktober drawings treerat mesh cloche #2 bag to Goodwill
7 four more Inktobers planted green onions bag to Goodwill
8 another three Inktobers wheelbarrow tire yard waste bin
9 three more Inktobers workroom wall patched x
10 x studio shelf sides x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x



Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday thoughts - the unholy wall and other tidbits...


in which our plucky heroine continues incremental improvements...

The west workroom wall had many holes remaining from removing the redundant shelving, ever since deciding that craft storage shelving taller than can be reached without a ladder was not ideal, both for reasons of convenience and for reasons of excess... It took, over the last few days, several tries with the gloppy spackle to fill the holes, but eventual success was not in question. Rather than sand down dried spackle, I simply use a very slightly damp sponge to smooth off any rough edges.

Today I found the most likely grey paint can, and after MUCH stirring, ended up with suitable paint to dab over the patched areas, and the wall is quite improved. Next up is continuing with adding in side walls to the remaining shelves, and then "tracks" to guide sliding door panels. Eventually I will have nice safe earthquake proof cupboards instead of open shelving, and then it will be on to a second pass of decluttering, and finally creating doors for the other shelves still needed to store supplies, materials et al...
※※※

Library Makerspace saga: my struggles with Adobe Illustrator, while frustrating, were eventually successful, I hope. Will find out in a few days. Having to make an instructor chosen project is also frustrating, but I totally understand the rationale - that way we learn a bit about how to use the program, without also going all over the map, in the very very short time frame we have. The other assistant tech pointed out that she thought I would really enjoy the abilities of the petite CNC machine they have there for carving blocks for printing - I asked if there were any plans to make access available for adults (since I can't really masquerade as a teen!)...
※※※

Look what showed up on my doorstep Tuesday!! Three wee maneki-neko, which had been wrapped up carefully with a card wishing me a happy day, the whole thing neatly sent with the most gorgeous decorated address label. Thank you eversomuch to my online pal Cricket!!
...while I am not usually one for collecting things, I do have a very *small* collection of maneki-neko that are less than 1" tall. And amazingly these three bring my count of unique and different wee maneki-neko to *sixteen*!!

Largest are just over 1" tall, smallest are just over 1/2";
made from paper, glass, porcelain, composition, and synthetic rubber

※※※
October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2 puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedbag to Goodwill
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened bag to Goodwill
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe bag to Goodwill
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries bag to Goodwill
6 five Inktober drawings treerat mesh cloche #2 bag to Goodwill
7 four more Inktobers planted green onions bag to Goodwill
8 another three Inktobers wheelbarrow tire yard waste bin
9 three more Inktobers west workroom wall x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sunday snippets and media Monday

in which our plucky heroine tries for balance and fails...



Communication is an art form. There was not quite enough of it this weekend, and worm bin confusions ensued. There will be more building and woodworking to solve the Unfortunate Incident and create an object that is the correct size.

The good was getting useful tools and supplies readily available. I now have a vacuum accessory long desired, the round ended dust brush with horsehair bristles instead of plastic. Which was not spendy at all, being all of $8. Now I will be able to easily dust the outsides of the paper lanterns, which means the cloudlight and the bedside lamps. We also went to the Other art store, the one that has the best paper selection, and acquired two sheets of translucent decorative patterned paper (checkered, and unryu) to refurbish the window in the workroom. I like light, especially in the dark season, but dislike passers-by looking at me. Another lovely piece of rust red marbled paper will be an accent mat for the Chihiro print that Ariadne gave me ages ago, which has been patiently waiting for me to frame it and hang it on the wall.

There where six bags of unwanted fabric and other housey clutter sent to Goodwill over the weekend, and the yard waste bin filled with botanical detritus, and the big bedroom no longer has a table piled high with fabric scraps. The really good stuff was folded and organised, and the whyever is this here stuff went away. Bit by bit more breathing room in the cottage..
※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2 puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedbag to Goodwill
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened bag to Goodwill
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe bag to Goodwill
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries bag to Goodwill
6 five Inktober drawings treerat mesh cloche #2 bag to Goodwill
7 four more Inktobers planted green onions bag to Goodwill
8 another three Inktobers wheelbarrow tire yard waste bin
9 three more Inktobers x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday thoughts


in which our plucky heroine has a slightly better day -

Last night I started taking an online class, taught by my pal Kaðlin (who is an actual scientist) on research techniques and skills, which is an area that I feel sadly weak in, considering all the years of education in my past. But still, never too old to learn more. My activity in the SCA involves not only making interesting things, but in studying what was done in the past, and sharing that information. Getting better at doing the research will allow me to also be a better teacher!

I also took a weatherisation workshop this evening, which involved riding over to the Old Kenton Firehouse in the rain. While some of the workshop was more like review (good to know all the things I am already doing "right"), I did learn a bit about weatherstripping I didn't know, and everyone eligible got weatherisation kits that include things like pipe insulation for water heater, outlet insulation, door weatherstripping kits, and nice sturdy window film kits that are reusable and removable (unlike the cheap ones that gets stuck on with tape and heated with a hairdryer). It was rather a challenge riding my bike home trying to keep the large bag full of useful supplies from falling out of my rear bike basket, but I made it home safely. Looking forward to some additional weather-proofing of the Very Drafty Cottage. Incremental progress is still progress...
※※※

The pair of anti-tree-rat mesh cloches to protect my salad table plantings from the depradations of the nasty squirrels.. some bird netting, flexible plum branch whips, and a bit of hardware should let my efforts actually grow undisturbed....
Cut off the lower few inches of green onions, and replant them... I have been doing this for years on and off, and it is a great way to get more green onions pretty much indefinitely... The winter greens, kale and mizuna, which I replanted after they were torn from their first planting by tree rats, seem to have mostly taken root and started growing again. The bird netting has kept them safe!

※※※

I am starting to look forward to drawing every morning...

10. gigantic


11. run


12. shattered
While #10 and #11 were really easy, #12 was really difficult for me to come up with an idea - I was pleased to finally combine various medieval figures to "tell a story" (the tale of the unintended vegans), and created the naughty dog who stole the whole joint of ham entirely out of my imagination.
※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2 puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedø
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened ø
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe ø
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries ø
6 five Inktober drawings treerat mesh cloche #2 ø
7 four more Inktobers planted green onions ø
8 another three Inktobers x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday musings and some vintage media


in which our plucky heroine makes incremental progress...

the Inktober project has been turning out to be rather fun so far. Looking up medieval drolleries and marginalia, and drawing pictures first thing in the morning whilst I wait the hour between meds and breakfast is a lot more pleasant than doing chores while hungry... and doing chores after breakfast means I have more energy to actually get stuff done!

7. shy


8. crooked


9. screech

※※※

Managed to put together a second "tree rat barrier" for the salad table, so the other half of the flats will be protected, and part of todays tasks will be to plant out green onion starts. It is no real trouble to cut off the white rooty ends of the green onions from the store and replant them, which gives many months of small amounts of allium goodness, which is often all I want at one time (a few bits to sprinkle atop soup, or eggs, or whatever) I read about this way of growing green onions years and years ago in Mother Earth News, and have been doing it ever since. (You can even grow them indoors, if you have enough light, and no cats)
※※※

Times have changed, but techniques remain the same... this period piece from 1961 is fascinating for the glimpse of cuttlebone casting, a home studio of the period, and the amusing beatnik commentary. No one I know smokes tobacco while working; but I wish I had a vintage fireplace built in to use for a fume hood!

※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2  puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedø
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened ø
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe ø
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries ø
6 five Inktober drawings treerat mesh cloche #2 ø
7 four more Inktobers x ø
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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

imposter syndrome and other snippets


in which our plucky heroine does her best to not feel like a fake...

The thing is, I have many friends that I consider "real artists". They seem to just create incredible artworks out of thin air, as it were. They are always drawing or painting or doing whatever their chosen art medium(s) are, irrespective of their circumstances. Some of them get professional recognition, teach at renowned institutions, and otherwise appear to me to be far further along in their profession than I am. I struggle with motivation to create "art" as opposed to what I consider "handicraft of daily life", and while to others I may look like a great success as an artist, it doesn't feel like that to me. I know that comparisons are odious, but I cannot seem to help comparing myself to others who have much greater personal or social success as artists. This is not to say that I am not aware of how much effort they put into their art lives, because none of this is easy in our culture.

There are quite a few things about how I live my life that I actively am working to change. Decluttering and reorganising my living spaces has been ongoing for a number of years, and is finally starting to make a difference in my everyday well being. I feel like if I could also spend some small time every day drawing, that it would likely provide yet unknown improvements to my abilities and self-concept. So, I decided to make things as easy as possible for me to be successful at "Inktober" (do an ink drawing every day for a month). Instead of leaving it totally open ended, which never works well for me, I chose to use supplies I have on hand. Index cards are small, and I am making a uniform border so that all the drawings will be the same size. I also chose to have all the designs be inspired by medieval marginalia, and relate to the word prompt in whatever tangential or direct way I can come up with. This lets me enjoy random internet searching in a focused way, and the whole process of research/drawing/inking is intended to be part of my before breakfast routine all month long.
※※※

A bit worried, I am. Woke up from my midday nap with a huge dark bruise on my belly, for no apparent reason. No other symptoms. Called the nurse hotline (after attempting to look up info online scared me badly, Dr Google is not your friend) and they ran me through their flow chart, and said, we do not know what or why, but you can wait until Monday to see a doctor. I have an appointment Monday afternoon at the local clinic. Hotline nurse also suggested I outline the bruise with a sharpie!, to see if there are any changes... I sure hope that this is just some weird anomaly, and not the beginning of something terrible
※※※

I meant to post earlier about what I accomplished in the short workshop I took at the Library Makerspace, on Beginning Digital Design for Laser Engraving... Our first assignment was to create a word art pendant, as a way to learn about using the program (Illustrator) to move, connect, and create a useable vector graphic that can be then opened in the program that the laser cutter uses. Since all the Makerspace compters are Mac, and I have a PC at home, it was not only a new program to try and suss out, but a whole different operating system. It was challenging, and while I am unlikely to wear a wooden name tag, it will make a nice workbench decoration!

The two little plywood ponies (just under 2" wide and 1/4" thick) in the background were my other project, that took up the two additional evenings. My first attempt involved trying to scan a drawing I made, and then get Illustrator to open the graphic, that took all of evening two, and didn't work very well. I then, whilst home in the interim, redid my drawing, took a digital photo, and then processed it on my home computer, and saved it in various formats, since I didn't know which would interface when I was back at the library Makerspace. It turns out that saving the design as a TIFF worked the best, and with help I was able to then translate that into SVG, and then to the laser cutter...

The tiny ponies will be glued on individual blocks of wood, and used for block printing fabric. The other thing is, I love learning to do new things, and to stretch my brain. The Makerspace at the Rockwood Library is intended for use by teens and there are only a very few classes offered there for regular adult library patrons. But since commercial maker spaces are incredibly spendy to access, I am going to continue haunting the library events web page, just in case they offer additional workshops. And, of course, I sent them my glowing review of the class we just completed!
※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2  puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedø
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened ø
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe ø
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries ø
6 five Inktober drawings ø ø
7 x x ø
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

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friday fragments


in which our plucky heroine keeps on drawing...

Four more Inktober drawings. There just may end up being a calendar for 2018, these are about the right size... maybe a wee coloring book calendar?
3. poison


4. underwater


5. long


6. sword

※※※

almost done making a multicolor ball for baby Kestrel, from scraps of Noro... Strips of knitted stockinette roll up into tubes, which are then woven/braided/interlaced together and the ends grafted. This is ideal transit knitting, being easy and small and modular. I am almost finished, the partial strip on the needles is the last one.

※※※

adding to my list of odd things never before seen in the neighborhood... today, riding my bike home from the doctors office (yay flu shot, yay herd immunity!) I was passed by a motorcycle, which had a Yakima bike carrier attached on the rear seat, which had a bicycle strapped to it! Talk about carrying your backup with you....
※※※

Thanks to my friend Kada, I have two jars of (now destemmed) blue elderberries, which will be turned into elderberry syrup this weekend, to help with immune support this winter. Reading online, apparently just freezing the whole bunches stems and all makes removing the berries from the stems, prior to cooking them up, a whole lot easier.
I will vouch for that, it worked a charm. (Berries must be cooked before ingesting, and apparently the stems are actually mildly toxic so not including them in any preparation seemed a wise move.) I will be canning the syrup for shelf stable storage, since my fridge is very wee indeed

※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot lg spider plantwood scraps
2  puzzle ball toy pinafore mendedø
3 laser cut name pendant U-lock loosened ø
4 laser cut horses Sterret scribe ø
5 braided knit ball toydestem elderberries ø
6 five Inktober drawings ø ø
7 x x ø
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, October 2, 2017

Inktober, visons of gussets, and other tidbits


in which our plucky heroine appreciates tiny bits of postive effort

Inktober is committing to a drawing a day for the whole month. There is a list of one word prompts for inspiration. In the interest of making it feel doable, I am drawing on index cards. The way I perceive it, the challenge works on several levels - to draw every day, and to interpret the daily word-prompt into a concept and image that can be turned into a wee medieval picture.

So far I have done "swift":
and "divided":
※※※

Have been reading about sleeve patterning... not sure if I am more or less confused than when I started this journey, but I definitely have more information to mull over. There are several different issues I am trying to solve for, some specific to my own body configuration, and some inherent in the challenge of getting flat inflexible fabric to allow for movement in more than one axis. My next attempt will be to use two separate sleeve gussets, one at the underarm seam, for movement raising/lowering arm, and one at the seam between the back bodice and the sleeve, a modified motorcycle gusset, for moving the arm forward from the side center... we shall see what happens.
※※※

Last weekend I saw a man taking a pony for a walk. A most dapper man, wearing a western hat, a tailored coat, and jeans, walking along the sidewalk on Lombard towards St Johns, with a beautiful liver chestnut pony with a flaxen mane and tail wearing a halter and lead rope... I have seen a lot of folks taking their pets for a walk on a nice day, but this was a first!
※※※

Please to remember... when it gets terribly difficult to ride the bike forward, it might be a good idea to check bike tire pressure! The new tires apparently become flat without "feeling" flat to the touch. After adding in a substantial amount of additional air, it suddenly became much easier to move forward. I am still Very Happy with the new air pump with attached pressure gauge.

Have been gradually finding things that need mended, or repaired in some way, and just doing it... I found the missing Sterret scribe that I like to use for all kinds of marking, and it was rather frozen in the closed position. Ended up needing to apply a bit of WD40, which soon improved the situation. Then it occurred to me that maybe the same solution would help with my ever-cranky U-lock, which annoys me every time I ride my bike and need to use it, which is pretty often... I worked some of the solvent/lubricant into the lockset, and repeatedly locked and unlocked it... it isn't *great* but it is a LOT easier than it was before. I suppose I will need to reapply it pretty often, but when out and about today, I was able to either lock, or unlock it on one or two tries, instead of the usual ten to thirty or more.

Have also repaired my black/brown shot linen pinafore, which somehow got a tear right in front. Since I don't have any of the fabric set aside for mending, I ended up taking a chunk out of the pocket lining, which matches, and using that to patch the tear. To replace part of the inner pocketing with a different fabric is an invisible repair, and this lets me repair the front with the same fabric I used for the original and get another few years of wear, since I love this pinafore! (which apparently I made back in January 2016, originally intended as a dress, which since it didn't work out, turned into a pinafore which I wear a LOT) The linen is heavy enough for winter, but lighter than my usual denim or corduroy.
※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot spider plantø
2 ø pinafore mendedø
3 ø U-lock loosened ø
4 ø Sterret scribe ø
5 øø ø
6 x ø ø
7 x x ø
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x



Sunday, October 1, 2017

October goals


in which our plucky heroine looks assiduously ahead...

There are several things I've been trying to change into habits - drinking more water every day, and eating cruciferous veg at least once a day. I intend to continue my efforts with these two, and also add in two small actions to my everyday morning: to write down one thing I am grateful for, and to take time first thing to do a small drawing, as I am participating, in a modest way, in Inktober.

Last month was difficult for a whole lot of reasons both internal and external, and so I am a bit behind where I hope to be for my SMART goals, but am confident that those too will prove to be possible to play catch up in October.

And, finally, my autumn 6PAC sewing may turn out to be less than 6, but if I work through the remainder of the fitting issues on my blouse muslin, I will be able to leap into sewing for me with a lot less limits.
※※※

October SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 fig cottage syrup (jam) repot spider plantø
2 ø øø
3 ø ø ø
4 ø ø ø
5 øø ø
6 x ø ø
7 x x ø
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

Saturday, September 30, 2017

memory bites


in which our plucky heroine remembers that one love...

I am still here, there's no where else to go;
and I can't fly, I'm not that strong,
I am still here, and you're still gone...


Every once in a while, I remember as if it were new, and my heart cracks a bit. Daily life and daily tasks save me over and over... would that our daily world was less dark... but still, there is jam, and friendship, and up in Mud Bay a brand new baby, and hope for that to be enough for going on with, until going on is done...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

wishful Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine takes steps against treerats...

I basically have nothing nice to say at all about squirrels. As far as I am concerned, urban squirrels are just rats with fuzzy tails and good PR. Some of my neighbors feed them. If I had some way to discourage them from hanging around my yard and destroying my efforts at edible gardening, I surely would...
This is what it looked like on my front porch last week. They dig holes in any open dirt available in planters and tear stuff up that is in their way. I had actually started planting, and came home later that day to see carnage! Earlier this year, basically all the tomatoes in the backyard were eaten before I thought they were ripe

so, some whippy plum sprouts get a second life as a framework to hold bird netting up off the mizuna and kale starts. I hope the starts survive their rough beginnings...
I need to set up the other half of the salad table the same way, so I can plant some more starts in the other side, probably green onions (easy, just plant the lower two inches from a bunch or two from the store) and some chard, if I can find some starts still available
One of my mend and repair project was completed today - a treerat-resistant enclosure for the autumn greens newly planted in the salad table. I had been meaning to do this earlier this year, time gets away... Fortunately I have more of the wee pipe brackets to set one of these up for the other half of the salad table, the plums throw up lots of shoots, and I have LOTS more of the bird netting.
※※※

September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dark pelican enamel declutter workroombag to Goodwill
2 tweedledee poncho declutter workroombag to Goodwill
3 color wheels standing workbench box of wool fleece
4 charter painting treerat mesh cloche yard waste bin
5 Jen paisley pinaforex recycle paper bin
6 new back door table x yard waste bin
7 x x freezer mysteries
8 x x ø
9 x x ø
10 x x ø
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, September 25, 2017

media Monday


in which our plucky heroine improves working conditions...

in the last two weeks the temperature has dropped 30 degrees, from the high 90's close to 100F, down to a high in the mid 60's. While I prefer these temperatures, I also feel like I just might crack from thermal shock. Still it is a treat to be able to pull out my beloved pinafore dresses again, and think about retiring the popovers til next summer...

※※※

a new plywood top (on a venerable table base custom made for me by Mark Cornell decades ago) is now a standing worktable in the workroom, just as I had envisioned it. The LED light shoplight installed earlier this year will light this bench as well as my own smaller seated bench barely visible on the other side of the file cabinet.  There is still work to be done on decluttering and organising this wall of the workroom but gradually the space becomes more and more useable, both for my own handicraft and for being able to teach others
※※※

Using the former back door table base for the standing workbench required a replacement back door bench - which we created from assorted salvaged wood, with only a few dollars needed for assembly hardware. This bench is a bit narrower in both dimensions than the former one, so there is room between the bench and the house to neatly tuck away most of the long-handle yard tools.

Lower shelf has salvaged fridge drawers to store things like garden gloves etc... I plan to add some hooks to the upper crossbar at the back, to hold things like the chicken food measure (wooden bowl visible on the lower shelf) Still need to add some rope anchor loops to keep the yard tools earthquake safe and vertical, and anchor the bench to the fence. Bit by bit, order and usefulness keep encroaching on Acorn Cottage.
※※※

vignettes of medieval lifestyle as well as info about iron production

※※※

September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dark pelican enamel declutter workroombag to Goodwill
2 tweedledee poncho declutter workroombag to Goodwill
3 color wheels standing workbench box of wool fleece
4 charter painting x yard waste bin
5 Jen paisley pinaforex recycle paper bin
6 new back door table x yard waste bin
7 x x freezer mysteries
8 x x ø
9 x x ø
10 x x ø
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Sunday, September 24, 2017

assorted Sunday snippets


in which our plucky heroine is has a busy weekend, with much culling, consolidating, decluttering and reconfiguring...

Blue Cedar House helped me, and in addition to their usual effort on the yard, which looks amazingly tidy (weeded/mowed/raked - the broken branches from the plum thicket went into yard waste, the fallen plums into compost) thank you Mindy! we also tackled several aspects of the workroom

photo partway through dealing with one of the two shelf units; they are going to be rebuilt in a more visually calm and earthquake safer (ie closed shelving with sliding doors instead of open shelf) configuration. I removed the two topmost shelves which I could only barely reach even when on a stepladder, and am keeping the lower three shelves to a height I can reach the contents when standing on the floor.

This was a perfect opportunity to look through everything on those shelves. There were a few things better suited to Goodwill, and a number of things that were either not supplies for handicraft, or that obviously had elsewhere homes, they got moved. Other things needed to be repacked in smaller more easily accessed boxes. (for example, rather than one huge box of textile art supplies, there is now a box of fabric paint, one of dyestuff, one of speedball textile ink, and one of carved blocks for printing) I am getting closer to my goal: with supplies organised and at hand for the activities I want to do and to teach.

The side panels are all cut to size, as are the tempered masonite doors. Still a lot of smaller cuts for blocking and cleats, to mount the sides and make door slides, but that is within my skillset and tools. I had Mr Blue Cedar do all the cutting of lumber and sheet stock.

These are the empty boxes, formerly also on the shelf in the previous photo, that we either consolidated the contents or sent the contents to Goodwill

In addition, the table base formerly just outside the back door got a new plywood top, and moved indoors to be an additional standing workspace in the workshop, just as I had envisioned it, AND there is a new slightly smaller table outside the back door, build entirely of salvaged wood parts already here in stash! so I don't lose the functionality of a spot outside the door to set down laundry basket or chicken food. I rather designed it on the fly, looking at what was in the wood stash already, and Farbjorn valiantly built it to my specs. The only thing we had to purchase was about $2 of hardware. It will be a more useful place to store some of the smaller garden tools etc, and there is room on the side between the table and the house, to tuck away about half of the long garden tools neatly (hoe, shovels, fruit picker, etc...)

and, in addition, before I forget, we also did a sort and clear of the food freezer contents, and removed all the mystery items, and everything obviously outdated, which created another bag of compostables. I have realised that if I create leftovers, or make broth from leftovers, that it would be better to eat it immediately rather than put in the freezer "for later"... Plus, very exciting, found some assorted packages of ham, bacon, and burgers in the depths of the freezer that will be good additions to current meal planning
※※※

Earlier this week, I continued my frustrating journey to create a pattern for a woven top that fits me comfortably, a project I have attempted several times in the last ten or fifteen years, so far unsuccessfully. This is my third muslin of this iteration, and I am actually pleased so far, although I have yet to tackle the most difficult part, the dreaded sleeve!
. .
These photos show that the horizontal balance lines are actually pretty horizontal, and aside from some subtle fitting issues still showing (uneven neckline, and some excess fabric in the upper back, and at the top of the side panel, the bodice actually fits me. Which would be great, if I wanted to make a vest. But I want a blouse, or shirt...

Sleeves are tricky, once you step away from the standard measurements, and I want a sleeve that I can move my arms in all directions, so as to be able to do my vocation and avocation without impediment. The sleeve pattern that goes with this Tabula Rasa jacket/shirt pattern is a cut on sleeve, and it binds my arm quite unmercifully as drafted. I am debating not only recutting it with more ease in the bicep, but also whether to add a gusset, a swing back gore, or both

※※※

September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dark pelican enamel declutter workroombag to Goodwill
2 tweedledee poncho declutter workroombag to Goodwill
3 color wheels standing workbench box of wool fleece
4 charter painting x yard waste bin
5 Jen paisley pinaforex recycle paper bin
6 new back door table x yard waste bin
7 x x freezer mysteries
8 x x ø
9 x x ø
10 x x ø
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday musings...


in which our plucky heroine is grateful for rain...

It started raining yesterday evening... soft gentle rain, but intermittently relentless. This is good, it will help quench the fires, though the rain itself causes other damage after fire, the landslide danger is much increased... but here in the city, the air is beginning to clear
※※※

I have tried repeatedly over many years to find/create/fit a TNT woven blouse pattern, with no real success. Since others have had good success with the Tabula Rasa jacket and shirt variations pattern, I decided to give it a try. I do expect to have to make multiple efforts to adjust the pattern, as is always the case when I try and work out a new basic garment for myself.

Here is the schematic of the pattern pieces I am using. Because I want to make a woven button-front blouse/shirt, I am not using the vee neck jacket front, but the adapted front pattern piece from the corresponding "shirt variations" pattern from the same company. Hence in the schematic, I have indicated the difference in the pattern by a dotted line:


muslin #1 - only alteration is to use L for upper torso, shifting to XL at mid armscye to allow for bust, as suggested by pattern designer. Horizontal balance lines look mostly okay. Bust darts are at a good level. There is PLENTY of ease around the bust on the front. Shoulder seams are, unfortunately, at least 1" to the outside of where my shoulder joins my body, which is always the case.

Back is not entirely level, probably needs both a rounded back adjustment, and some room for my hips/bottom.

Sleeves are the worst problem, as is always the case. Shoulder seams are, unfortunately, at least 1" to the outside of where
my shoulder joins my body, which is always the case. In this pattern the sleeve cap seam is intended to be just inside the shoulder point.

Also, I cannot easily move my both my arms forward at the same time, or even one arm at a time. While there is enough ease in the arms if I stand rigidly straight, as soon as I move, the upper arms tighten and pull. Not sure how to adjust for this, since it doesn't match any of the alterations suggested in the information provided. Am thinking that somehow adding to the back of the sleeve cap would be helpful?

So, on to muslin #2...
in an attempt to observe what each specific change will do, I am only making one major change at a time...

major change - moved the shoulder 1" narrower (tapered along the front panel down to notch, darted out extra on back so as to not lose any width)
minor adjustment - restitched the back side panel to center back seams to increase taper and allow a bit more space in the side hip (this only added about a half inch on either side back, not enough)

this is moving in the right direction, but nowhere near a comfy blouse yet... I can tell that there is still too much width in the upper bodice center front, and not enough in the lower "peplum" zone (when I sit down, it binds across my tummy as well as across my hips in the back; when I stand up there is enough room in the lower front, but it still hangs up and binds across the hips in the back.

the vertical balance lines are getting closer to being vertical;
horizontal balance lines still looking good

back is still pulling upward in the center, needs either a RBA or for me to add a center back seam to shape the back. The lower edge is still not wide enough to fit my curvy hips properly... I am considering cutting the back into panels, rather like princess seams. This would allow me to fit the ins and outs of my contours more easily, and would also probably be more sparing of fabric when I eventually am able to make this as an actual blouse.
The thing I am pleased about, aside from having the bust darts in the right place, is that the hemline edge is basically level, in the front and on the side panels. Sleeve is still terrible, but I need to sort out the front shoulder and center front issues first, then deal with the back shaping, and only then will I be able to try and fit the sleeves in some way that will allow me to freely move my arms.

Tomorrow I am going to work on muslin #3. I have removed the sleeves entirely for now, and will work on sorting out the center front shoulder zone. Overall, I am quite pleased though, as this is already closer to a usable blouse/shirt bodice than I have ever managed before!! My goal in fitting this pattern is to create a comfortable blouse/shirt that I will be able to wear underneath my everyday pinafore, which is what I wear every day, autumn through spring, which will add an important additional option to my short list of TNT patterns. (my basic TNT patterns so far include a knit top, pinafore/dress, princess seam sleeveless dress, and knit cropped pants. Also a sports bra, and a wraparound apron)
※※※

September SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 dark pelican enamel xø
2 tweedledee poncho xø
3 color wheels x ø
4 charter painting x ø
5 xx ø
6 x x ø
7 x x ø
8 x x ø
9 x x ø
10 x x ø
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
15 x x x