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

Sunday, April 15, 2018

"Proficere lente sed proficere"

in which our plucky heroine makes small progress...

a week or so ago, while I was talking to my neighbor Marianna who was working in her yard, I noticed that one of her beautiful tulip flowers was lying on the mulch broken off. I mentioned it to her, and she told me to take it home; I have been watching it slowly open up from a deep purple bud. Never knew that tulips could have blue centers...

The small ceramic flower holder, made last year in March, now lives on the cupboard next to the front door, and has proven a most Useful Helpful Holder for salvaged yard flowers, from Acorn Cottage or elsewhere...
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Today, solved another minor annoyance, and realised I could hang the tune-box cassette player off the wall underneath the window, out of the way in the workroom. Two eyebolts, a bit of time with the electric drill, and a bit of salvage chain from the Box of Random Hardware and the deed was done. Which is eversomuch better than where it had been taking up almost the whole top of the standing workbench. I have several different ways to access tunes, and podcasts, and audiobooks, depending on mood and who all else is around. But my spaces are all small, and fitting the various functions in is a challenge
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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 x 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