Monday, April 24, 2017

??? and a song


in which our plucky heroine is concerned...

The Blogger interface is not behaving normally this morning, and only allowing random sporadic access to the tools and settings, and no access to the HTML where I usually edit my posts, so rather than a full blog post today, I leave you with this sweet little song:



Sunday, April 23, 2017

can't beet this...


in which our plucky heroine tries something new...

In some places beets are only useful to help defrost the roads... here at Acorn Cottage pickled beets are a rare and delightful treat. While in general pickles are not a favorite, something about the sweet spicy tangy magenta discs just make me smile, and I occasionally will make up a small batch of waterbath shelf stable treats to add color to a green salad. I have never before tried making "quick pickles" (aka refrigerator pickles), which was the April "skill of the month" at Food in Jars Mastery Challenge.

While perusing options online, I came across these unusual pink-edged eggs and was curious... had never eaten pickled eggs, but since my hens provide me with an abundance to experiment with, I took a few and gave the recipe a try. Left out the peppercorns, as it was too late in the evening to run to the store for some.

I call this a win! The eggs are amazingly delicious as well as visually stunning, and pickled beets are always a treat. This is going on the short list of successful experiments that will be repeated on a regular basis.

I will, however, not substitute dried dill for the suggested sprigs of fresh dill. The dried herb bits turned into a messy mush that spilled over the top of the jar, and didn't really add any dill flavor. I am interested in possibly trying some other flavor and color variations, maybe with tumeric and curry spices...

※※※

It has been a Very Busy Weekend here. My Blue Cedar House pals came down to do their usual helpful activity. My yard got mowed and weeded, and the strawberries the chooks tried to destroy are now in one of the self watering planters instead. Since it mostly poured down rain here all weekend, a lot of attention was focused on my workroom instead.

The two LED shoplights were installed, one above the south wall, to provide lighting for a future small standing workbench, and one above the west wall which will provide lighting for where I usually set up the ironing board when I am sewing. Both lights bounce off the walls and help light up my own small corner workbench as well. Being able to work without standing in ones own shadow is a great thing, and having this much light indoors will make all the shop tasks a lot easier to accomplish.

In addition, the lowest west wall shelf was reconfigured, cut down in length and lowered two inches, to accommodate this neat IKEA office paper shelf, which I will use to keep assorted commission work organised. The slide out shelves are lined with cork, so stuff doesn't slip about, and there is enough depth to include various specific supplies, and sketches, as well as the works in progress.
Moving that shelf allowed me to set up a work place for the mini drill press, which has been sitting in a box for months. We mounted the surge protector just below the windowsill, where it will serve for the various electrical tools used in that zone.


Another minor project was to start on a door for the wee shelf/box that holds all my small ceramic dishes that I use when enameling. My goal is to stabilise everything in the workroom, since we live in an active earthquake zone. Shelves need "batter boards" at the very least, and my intention is to give storage areas closed doors whenever possible. I filled in the side of the shelves with this fancy pressed molding scrap, and the front will have a slide-in panel cut from a leftover piece of the MDF chalkboard I used in the rest of the room.
※※※

April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 pottery buttons mat/frame woodblockyard waste bin
2 soap dish mend grey dresspaper recycle bin
3 painted bowl taxes done paper recycle bin
4 geometric flower holder side wall cupboard bag to Goodwill
5 3 enamels for Edrill press setup bag to Goodwill
6 Darylee overdress shelf moved/resized yard waste bin
7 pickled beets n eggs WIP shelves setup x
8 filigree center for S 2 shoplights installed x
9 x surge protector up x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
※※※

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday fragments


Our plucky heroine wants to make a tabletop warp weighted loom for tablet weaving... like this one ➡

Weighting the individual groups of yarn from each card solves the issue of twist buildup, which is always an annoying issue and even more problematic when doing irregular turning with some cards moving forwards and some backwards in the same shed. I followed Charles Lawton-Brains advice and sought out something where it was used a lot and hence quite inexpensive.

The ceramic fence wire insulators I ordered arrived today. I intend to use these as my loom weights for warp weighted tablet weaving... The underside of the 30 porcelain "spools" was rough in places along the edge of the glaze; I used my trusty Alundum stone to grind down any sharp bits, so they will be safe to handle and not snag on any of my weaving yarn.
.
※※※

April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 pottery buttons mat/frame woodblockyard waste bin
2 soap dish mend grey dresspaper recycle bin
3 painted bowl taxes done paper recycle bin
4 geometric flower holder x bag to Goodwill
5 3 enamels for Ex x
6 Darylee overdress 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
※※※

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday tidbits.


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

Started the day off by riding my bike to the post office to send out my assorted tax forms and checks, as today is the final day to get envelopes postmarked. Living in a place in the city where so much of what I need is within an easy bike ride, and having lived here for over ten years, which means that assorted people like postal workers and store clerks recognise me, makes it feel a bit like what I imagine living in a village might be like.
※※※

took advantage of the intermittent weather to play hooky to head over for a visit to Drusa... on the way from the bus stop to where she lives, this quite spectacular conjunction of magnolia + red dogwood caught my eye.

I wanted to see the changes she has been making in her workshop, and to catch up on various ideas we have for projects and products...

If there is a contest, Drusa is winning. We are both putting effort into reorganising our workshop spaces... this whole set of shelves in her shop looks just beautiful, with supplies and projects in process all ready to hand. Right now the various woodworking machinery is pulled away from the other walls while she adds some light-colored paint to brighten up the space.

Her tine boxes project has moved forward a bit, with some of the boxes having neatly cut and rabbeted bottoms, and another group of boxes formed and stitched. She also has quite a few sets of wooden tablet weaving cards cut out, and I am eager to try working with them once they are finished. The design that showed up on the FB Historic Tablet Weaving group page, for a tabletop warp weighted loom, is hopefully going to be something we can make up to try out, and Drusa said that it will be possible for me to build my own, with her mentoring me! Whoo hoo!
※※※

Sadly, as I was away from home, I missed intersecting with Bill, who on his way home from southern Oregon, stopped by Acorn Cottage... he did, however, leave a bag with cheese curds from Rumiano's tied to my front doorknob... as well as a phone message giving me a heads-up as to the gift. The cheese will be part of lunch tomorrow.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday snippets and a Very Pretty Remnant


in which our plucky heroine has a rather busy few days...

It has been that time of year when despite whatever my fancy, necessity requires a great deal of arithmetic... yes, time to do all the taxes. (federal and state and city oh my) A few days of calculations and totting up columns of number and filling out forms and forms and more forms. Rather a lot of annoyance rather than difficulty. I am grateful for the fact that however thin the pocketbook, there is in fact, enough set aside to actually pay my taxes, and that every year however low the numbers, my businesses all take in more than I spend, which is the definition of "not a hobby" in the eyes of the revenue service.

Once the math was all done, and all the associated errands to the copy store and the post office were done, I put in some time on the my current custom commission work in the studio, a very interesting variation on a Laurel medallion... since it is a gift, I will not be revealing the images until my patron gives permission, as I am careful to never spoil the surprise.

The weather has become even more springlike, and there were a few clear days this weekend, so I rode my bike to the grocery store at least once a day. Yesterday I cleared off the workroom table so there was room for open studio time (today, Zenobia came over to work on her enameling). Did the usual wash dishes and do laundry, plus it was not raining so I could hang the laundry outside to dry which is always a plus.

Decided on Friday to start training the hens to come up the ramp and into their house when I call them to do that... this is going better than I had hoped, as they are already getting the idea. Why, you may ask, am I doing this? Because last week when my pal Dayna and I wanted to go to Katelines house, it was evening but not yet dark... I spent about 40 minuted trying to chase the hens around the henyard to catch them and stuff them in their house before they wanted to go to bed... not fun at all for me or for them; much easier if I can reward them into doing what I want

I also started mending/patching my grey popover summer dress, cooked a quiche for todays lunch, went downtown to get a free gift box of spices from Penzeys, and put in a bit more work on my new denim pinafore. Today I spent most of the day being mentor to Zenobia in the enameling zone. Oh and yesterday I also put in almost an hour of removing dandelions from the front yard... a useless but vaguely satisfying task... it does make the yard look better and since I am allergic to the dang things, feeding them to the hens is a better plan.

Going to put in a bit more time tonight hopefully getting the denim pinafore closer to done, I have not given up on my hope of actually completing SWAP 2017
※※※

Once every few years the neighbors at the top of the street have a yard sale, and is always worth looking at. Last time (three years ago) I snagged an interesting tablet woven belt with tassles and braid, from somewhere in Central Asia... while I sadly couldn't bring home the dress form (150$ plus no real room here for one) I found this lovely almost half yard bit of real silk ikat in the 50¢ bin! The colors coordinate really well with the SCA gown I am currently and gradually putting together, and will add another layer of embellishment.

These are so not my usual colors, but sometimes the materials lead and I follow where they go... in this case it all started with the remnant that became the embroidered yoke background, which was originally leftover from some handwoven Ikea fabric that I used to make a tunic for my father to wear when my family came to my Laurel elevation... that fabric asked me for green leafy vines, and then it wanted red deer instead of my usual heraldic horses... and so it went... There are now embroidered cuffs with some of my blockprinted trim added, and and the embroidered yoke, ... and some trim for the shoulder seams using a fragment of blockprinted fabric that Marya gave me, cut into narrow strips in a most Viking Age fashion

Hoping to have this put together by tourney season


※※※

April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 pottery buttons mat/frame woodblockyard waste bin
2 soap dish mend grey dresspaper recycle bin
3 painted bowl taxes done -
4 geometric flower holder x -
5 3 enamels for Ex x
6 Darylee overdress 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
※※※

Monday, April 10, 2017

Media monday


in which our plucky heroine does her best to remember that the world is still full of sweetness and good cheer and beauty, as well as sorrow and grief...

This is just a wacky bit of cheerful fun, (particularly if you like The Talking Heads)

※※※

Sweet scented clematis blooming on Karla's alley fence. I love this variety of clematis, and tried repeatedly to get it to flourish on my front walkway fence, but despite my best efforts the plants did not survive. Karla has amazing "green fingers" and all kinds of interesting plants in her yard. I suppose that if I had made plants my avocation, I would have better success, but in truth, I can enjoy them every time I walk between her house and mine. We do not need to possess something personally to enjoy it in the common spaces - and that is one of the best reasons for caring for and adding beauty to the world.
※※※

Given where I live, and our common springtime weather, this drawing from Incidental Comics "Philosophers in the Rain" seems very appropriate...
※※※


an old favorite lullaby (written by James Taylor);
and sung by David Buskin, an old favorite folksinger...

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sorrow, and one Sunday snippet...


in which our plucky heroine says goodbye to a friend...

Tell the people you love that you love them. DO it now! I was riding my bike to the grocery store when my phone pinged me. As I read the words on the tiny screen I started crying and cursing... This morning my friend Russ died, too early. He had gone through a serious medical situation and was recovering, had been moved out of the CICU and into rehab, when an aneurysm took him suddenly away. All his friends are shocked and sad, he leaves behind his lovely wife and two young daughters and a lifetime of unfinished work and poetry and song and storytelling. He was a true bard, and a kind, creative, thoughtful man. I am sorry I wasn't able to go see him in hospital, (thinking to self that the chance of sharing possible germs from my cough were not worth the danger of sharing a viral infection, and that there would be plenty of time... later...) The summerlands are brighter now, but our own world is darker for the loss.
※※※

Using the beautiful paper that Drusa bought me last week to make a decorative mat for this small vintage Japanese woodblock... I've been waiting to frame this for over a year, as the size is not standard for the frames that show up second hand. Finally one did. The kitchen artworks here at Acorn Cottage have a common thread in that they all contain some of that vivid tomato-red color; when I found this woodblock print online at Washi Arts, I knew it had to come live here...
※※※

April SMART goals (x=extra)
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 pottery buttons mat/frame woodblockyard waste bin
2 soap dish xpaper recycle bin
3 painted bowl x -
4 geometric flower holder x -
5 3 enamels for Ex x
6 - x x
7 x x x
8 x x x
9 x x x
10 x x x
11 x x x
12 x x x
13 x x x
14 x x x
※※※