Saturday, April 21, 2018

Saturday snippets...

In which our plucky heroine enjoys the beauty of the season...

Today was a "ride transit way out to Beaverton and back for acupuncture day". While heading home, with an extra transfer downtown to get away from the slightly crazy Batman dude, I saw this beautiful wall mural, that must have been at least four or five stories tall. I was walking through a different part of the downtown than I usually do, as I had hopped on the trolley to help two lost Seattleoids find the art museum. Really I couldn't help myself, how often am I approached by two elders with the comment "you look like you know what you are doing, can you help us"... Put all the shine back into the day that crazydude had removed it did.
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And, I found this unusually red dogwood blossom on a street tree, whilst I was finally walking home from my last bus transfer of the day

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Apple blossoms are just beginning to open, on the one side of the established tree in the backyard. That one was planted about ten years ago; the baby trees from this year have leaf buds opening, and the young feral plum on the south side of the house had a few blossoms this year, for the first time.

The group of feral plums in the far corner of the backyard are almost done blooming now. I always wonder how they get pollinated in such early spring, but something always manages it. This year I'm going to start pruning on the feral plums as it needs to be a few dry days in a row, as plums do badly when pruned in the cold and wet. And the feral grape is large and tall enough enough this year that some attention now will encourage it to grow along the fenceline...

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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 celtic enamel pelican bathrobe shouldersbag to Goodwill
2 trapunto knotwork taxes donebag to Goodwill
3 pliers rackapple tree pruned spare lawn mower
4 charter #7 tunes moved -
5 x- -
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

Thursday, April 19, 2018

a different sort of SWAP

in which our plucky heroine indulges herself...

I just plain love wardrobe planning, there is something so very satisfying about figuring out how to make a chart or diagram to view the data. Over the course of the winter my sense was that I have plenty of pinafores, and enough knit tops to get through at least another winter. I am sorely lacking in popover dresses which are my summertime staple, and even more sorely lacking in garments for the transitional seasons, with springtime barking at my heels even as we speak:

BLACK INDIGO BROWN GREY TAUPE teal or multi
pinafores 4 1 1 1 1 (1)
woven tops - - - - - -
knit tops 4 2 1 1 - -
dresses - - - - - -
popovers 2 1 + (1) - 1 - -
cropped pants 1 - 1 1 - -
slips 1 - - 1 - (1)
jacket/cardigan 1 - - 1 - 1
Based on this chart, it is obvious that what is most needed is an assortment of dresses, which can be worn both under pinafores if the weather is cool, and on their own until it gets beastly hot. Even better, making up some everyday dresses will use some of the printed cottons that I have in stash, and as I have a TNT dress pattern it will be fairly easy to accomplish. This will be my focus for my personal sewing for the next while... I have some indigo stripey batik cotton, some indigo pin-striped cotton, some grey/white stripey cotton, as well as some black/grey/blue stripe cotton, all of which will make good everyday dresses. I also have the indigo batik rayon popover dress already cut out from my stalled SWAP 2108...

My stretch goal, as always, is to, if I have the mojo, dive back into an attempt at a woven top/blouse, button front shirt. I have a new pattern to try, the Cashmerette Harrison blouse, which is designed for "curvy" women of size, and has bust options up to H cup. Looking at the pattern, it seems hopeful that I may have better luck than I did with my attempt at the Tabula Rasa top last year. And, the pattern comes with a very thorough instruction book that covers a number of the details of how to successfully assemble the details of sleeve placket and stand collar for a very shirt-like effect.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

want moar owls, and other decorations

in which our plucky heroine wishes for more owls...


Wee baby tarragon now in the sunny part of the backyard, planted in a large rolling planter pot, and surrounded by galvanized mesh to prevent squirrel depredations. I asked at the Master Gardener booth at the farmers market last Saturday if they had any tips about keeping squirrels from destroying garden beds, and they all laughed hysterically... I figure that caging is my only option.
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Allowing myself a short break after getting the taxes done and sent off, I finished up charter #7. As part of my new concept, I have decided that doing the worst task of the day first, the "eat the frog" model, was not improving my functionality, but instead making it more and more difficult to summon up the fortitude to even get out of bed at all. There have been days when were it not for my hens, it would have been Not Good At All. So, instead, I have decided that my first activity of the day will be something creative I really enjoy doing, and for the last few days, this has been the material result (the immaterial result is that I am no longer malingering, but have been eager to be up, dressed, and doing)

As ever, with each charter my goal is to try new things, and learn, to improve my artistry at least a little bit each time. With this charter, I tried out some different gouache paint than I usually use, tried a different way of coloring the leaves, and most excitingly, I tried using my metal stamps on the Finetec (mica paint) golden areas, to get a textured effect similar to some of the diapered gold designs in medieval manuscripts. All three of the efforts, were, in my opinion, a win! The new gouache paint, borrowed from Marya, was easier to use than my pan paints, and gave a very good velvety opaque look. Here is the capital initial after the first base layer of paint is applied, before all the detailing.

And here is what it looks like completed, with shaded leaves, white linework, internal detailing, and textured motifs added to the background. I am very pleased with the way the leaves turned out, and will add this style to the model book* I am starting to develop, so that eventually I will have a hardcopy reference of my own, when doing scribal calligraphy and illuminations

I was inspired by a charter done by one of the other artisans in the Monday Scribal Arts Group, where Michael had used a stylus to indent a diapering pattern into the background around a capital letter, and so I wanted to try out my own metalworking tools and see if they would be possibly useful in a similar way. Indeed, a number of them were small or open enough that they could be used to create a delicate bas-relief texture even on painted paper. Most of my stamps were too large or too solid, but the few that do work can be combined in various ways.

I used two different stamps for detail in the gothic roundel, and some very simple stamping to create leaf veins... The original charter copy had the vine stem curving around in a loop with the ends cut off, for some reason (ends visible on the left near the leaves) I decided to add this little naughty corbie, in the style of medival manuscript drolleries, holding in its beak the snipped off leaves.
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April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 celtic enamel pelican bathrobe shouldersbag to Goodwill
2 trapunto knotwork taxes donebag to Goodwill
3 pliers rackapple tree pruned spare lawn mower
4 charter #7 tunes moved -
5 x- -
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