Tuesday, January 17, 2017

a dream and other Tuesday tidbits.


in which our plucky heroine has a very vivid and unusual dream. Wandering inside a store like Powells, only in Japan. And they also sold fabric on one whole floor. My delight was all in browsing the aisles and racks full of beautiful fabrics. Not in finding but looking. Was entirely unlike any other visit to dreamland, and an area I had not discovered before.
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After spending a huge chunk of the day stocking up on some extra groceries in case the predicted ice storm hits us hard, I was thinking about sewing, but decided instead to continue my efforts with the "library zone" here at Acorn Cottage. After previous efforts had the bookcase all tidy, the remaining work was to clear away the random items stacked on the top... That took about an hour.

When my coach asked what I wanted to do next, I said "tomorrow, how about the shadow box?" She thought that would be fairly simple and suggested that we go ahead with it tonight...

Well, it contained rather a lot of tiny trinkets, as well as larger artifacts and an astonishing number of rocks. I often find interesting rocks and bring them home, and apparently this is a common behavior in people that struggle with clutter, or at least the ones my coach has worked with... I sorted out what I wanted to keep, what needed to live somewhere else, like the metronome belongs with the music things, etc. and what things were no longer resonant in my life... After another several hours, I can confidently call the library zone DONE!
The arrangement in the shadowbox is temporary, and I'd like to find some new paper to line it with, as the old paper had become faded and patchy. The top of the bookcase will just stay empty for now; though my original intention is for the area between the upper and lower bookcase to be used to display interesting or seasonal things,  each artifact I have tried to put there looks really odd, small, and isolated. I'd like to add some lighting underneath the upper bookcase shelf, and think about how best to use the newly free space.
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You can bring a chicken water, but you can't make them drink! My hens are goofy. I brought them nice fresh slightly warmed water today, because as always, when the weather is this cold, the water freezes solid pretty quickly. Did they avail themselves of said nice liquid water? nope! They decided that eating snow was better! If they do it again tomorrow, I will try and photograph them, with their little beaks all snowy.
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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 patches for march Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 - charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared bag to Goodwill
6 - EBT application in bag to Goodwill
7 - bookcase tidied bag to Goodwill
8 - textile shelf leveled bag for Powells
9 - shadowbox tidied bag for Powells
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Monday, January 16, 2017

Monday musings

in which our plucky heroine is grateful for friends near and far...

Given the condition of the roads, I was quite surprised that my beloved Blue Cedar House pals decided to come down Saturday to stay overnight and give a helping hand. I was grateful as well for the distraction of guests, given both the weather and my rather unrelenting and painful stiff neck.

Quite a bit of additional progress happened here over the day and a half that they were here: Farbjorn readjusted the textile room over the door shelf to a more level orientation, dragged masses of fresh bedding out to my Ungrateful Hens, and did yeoman service in cooking delicious meals, while his wife, Mindy of the Marvels, aka Thora, helped me dust and cull the bookcase and contents, to allow room for most of the books to be arranged vertically, as contrasted with the prior higgledy-piggledy bookcase.
There are still a cluster of "things" on the near end of the central shelf that need to find appropriate homes (a task for this week) and a stack of books at the far end, paperbacks and Whole Earth Catalogs, that are waiting for two new suitable bookshelves to be built.  In addition, she and I did a very rough first pass through the fabrics in the textile room, ostensibly because we were looking for some particularly useful to her fabrics. The results of our two major weekend projects were three bags for Goodwill, two for Powells credit (hopefully), and a modest amount of paper into the recycle bin.
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My neighbor M came over Sunday afternoon, and I taught her how to knit! Later that evening she took me along to a gathering of women preparing for the local womens march this coming weekend. There was a whole room of women knitting pussyhats, and another room of women making placards, and smaller pin on patches to share:

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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 patches for march Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 - charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared bag to Goodwill
6 - EBT application in bag to Goodwill
7 - bookcase tidied bag to Goodwill
8 - textile shelf leveled bag for Powells
9 - - bag for Powells
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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Thursday thoughts: declutter, organise, create


in which our plucky heroine has a productive day...

After spending all of yesterday indoors, it was time to strap on the YakTrax and head up to Green Zebra for a bit of fresh produce, another apple would be quite welcome, and some rice crackers to go with the homemade hummus would combine for a sustaining brunch, and a chance for a short walk, even if it was ever-so-careful penguin walking, was really welcome...

Today it is just above freezing. There won't be much of this melting away in the next few days:

The streets are full of snow and ice, and the sky is a cloudless blue
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Since the planned errands for today were off the table, due to bureaucracy being closed due to snow, it seemed like a good day to turn up the podcasts and dig in to the decluttering. There was just one more box of misc unsorted papers to go through, and then all the unknown boxes were dealt with (as I recall I started last year with over 60 piles or bags or boxes of unknown content) It took a few hours to look at each paper bit one at a time, but when I was done there were two full bags of recycle, a pile to go in the bag of "shred or burn" and a tiny handful of index cards with art ideas noted on them to save. Huzzah for the end of Phase 1 !! (which I have been toiling away at for almost three years of somewhat intermittent effort)

As best I can understand it, Phase 2 involves going through the house one area at a time, sorting, organising and condensing what is there, moving things as needed to the best place for them to be used or stored. I suspect that as time goes on, I will have a better sense of this, so for now, I chose one obvious spot.
The hallway is my library, and most of the books in Acorn Cottage are supposed to live on the bookshelves there. A great deal of other things have been tucked in there over the last ten years, and the whole zone has become quite disorganised. Tonight's project was to deal with the very top of bookshelf, above the paperback shelf.

What I had originally intended for this wall was: wall art at the very top, then paperbacks (and the shadowbox at the right end for small interesting things)... then the wall clear from the bottom of the paperbacks to the top of the bookcase. The top of the bookcase for a pleasant assortment of interesting objects of a medium size... then books solidly all the way down.  There are several issues that have made this difficult, besides the obvious need to sort and organise. But I also don't really know where to put the things that ended up there by default instead of by intention. And I also have a problem because some of the books are too small for the bookcases (too short, and too shallow) and a few are too big and stick out!
It took a bit of doing, I'm embarrassed that there was some pretty heavy dust and cobwebs up there, but eventually the entire surface was cleared away, and the objects were either dusted off and put aside as memorabilia, or sent to Goodwill or recycle-land. Of course, now that is cleared off, the bookshelves look much more jammed. The taped tags mark the spacing for my personal SCA charters... Last year I found Ikea frames that include a shadowbox insert, which makes framing the charters a lot simpler, as multiple mats to deal with the thickness of the wax seals are not needed.
After a fair amount of additional measuring, the framed charters, which have been leaning against the bedroom wall for the last month, are finally on the wall where they were meant to go all along... You can see the gap in the middle where my missing Jambe charter should be. I am tempted to put my Laurel scroll, currently on the lower left corner of the wall, there temporarily. It would make sense move it up there at least for now, until I can get the missing Jambe sorted out, plus that is my one "real" scroll and it will likely be safer up and out of the way, but still be visible.

leaning against the wall, soon to be properly attached!

I don't really want to put all the assorted memorabilia back up on that shelf, the family photos need a different wall for their home, and some of these trinkets and treasures are actually useful elsewhere. I'm liking how much more peaceful the library wall is beginning to look, and the upper shelf is so high that it is really hard to dust things that are living up in the sky like that. So, for now, these pretty and fascinating objects will get temporarily boxed up, until Phase 2 creates places for them to call home.
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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 - Wastekeep bid bag of papers
4 - charters on wall bag of papers
5 -topmost shelf cleared -
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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

wishful Wednesday


in which our plucky heroine accepts the inevitable and attempts not to whinge too much...

Yesterday evening looking out the front window - the snow keeps falling.

The Japanese maple is beautiful with a snow coat

Won't be hanging any laundry outdoors to dry for a while yet...

...and it just keeps coming down, another several inches in the last few hours after dinner; at this rate it will be OVER the tops of my high boots by morning!

almost seven inches deep... 11 PM on Tuesday night

woke up way too early and saw the neighbors cars transformed into snow dragons.

morning today January 11th, a foot of snow, and not done yet...

Remember that artistic Japanese maple from yesterday evening?

The view from the back door is not promising;

there is so much snow that it is tilting and curving, overbalanced on the tops of fence and clothesline.

I managed to make it into the backyard, carefully, because there are chooks that depend on me, tucked inside their house in this no longer pleasant hen-yard

They looked, but were not willing to go sledding; the snow is over their heads out there. I will need to make another trip to hang a waterer inside the chook house. There is a hook inside, under the roofline, for these rare occasions... I can't expect them to go outside when the snow is higher than they are tall!

This morning the backyard was full of unusual sculptures. Rose cages turned into layered snow cones.

Every bit of wire or wood had inches of snow piled up in thin blades of coldness.

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Doing my best to pay attention to how beautifully the snow transformed everyday reality, and not to focus on how much more difficult everyday life is when it snows. The weather will be getting colder for a few days before it gets back above freezing, so there will be more ice on all the streets and sidewalks. I managed to stay home all day today, working on tasks that could be done online, and only wrenched my knee a bit while going back and forth across the backyard with chook food and water. But there are some things that need done out in the wide world in the next two days...
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One thing I really wish I had thought to do earlier this year would have been to set up a wintertime chook yard, where their house and pen are much closer to the back door of AcornCottage, and where I can create a covered area for them in inclement weather. It makes sense to move their environment to different parts of the yard depending on the season. Where they are now is really good in the summer, as it accesses shade. It also means in the winter when it is frozen, I have to scramble across the icy yard several times a day to tend them. Hindsight is 20/20. Some winters it isn't an issue. Not today, though, and not last week. Sigh...

Something like this would be a possibility, though needs to be a bit larger in the covered run area. And were money, time, and space no object, there are plans for several large chicken structures that combine hen house and hen run, that can be left with the connection between house and run open, because the whole structure is secured against predators. This means that needing to open and close the chook house twice a day is not necessary... they can be left for overnight, or a weekend, with enough food and water, and still be safe from varmints.
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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 toile for knit pants reframed charterpaper recycle
3 - Wastekeep bid -
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday tidbit


in which our plucky heroine managed to get out on the front porch when it wasn't bitterly cold, or icy, or snowing...

was too cold for a real photo session, but I wanted to get started documenting my first few SWAP garments: This is Over #1, a pinafore made from brown brushed cotton twill, trimmed with black corduroy and a decorative stencil patch. It is worn over Upper #1, a dress made from turquoise Kaffe Fasset shot cotton.

This is Over #2, a pinafore made from some lovely, almost silky, wool, black with tiny flecks of cream. The textured weave and cream "dots" turn the color of the fabric to almost a bittersweet chocolate color*. I am wearing it here with one of my potential candidates for "previously sewn", an everyday top made from the same pattern as my dress, in a black floral print inspired by midcentury design.

(you can just barely see my toile for Lower #1 (knit capri pants) sticking out underneath the hemline - the pastel blue jersey used for the toile is not really well coordinated with any of my colors, but at not quite 40F, it was still really chilly outside today, so keeping my legs warm was the priority! This gives me the general shape of my basic look, but requires imagination to change the color to navy/indigo/brown/black. Future actual capri lower garments will be just a few inches longer, with some subtle trimming as decoration, possibly some reverse AC style applique)

*A closer look at the wool fabric:

Monday, January 9, 2017

Monday musings


in which our plucky heroine becomes confused, and laughs...

I cut out my first toile of the loose capri length leggings (a necessary part of my SWAP 2017 wardrobe components), using my blue tape pattern pieces. I looked at my instructions for "how to sew pants together": sew crotch seams, sew inseams, sew outseams, cover waistband, attach waistband. I sewed the pants together and moved on to the covered waistband. Which went together perfectly; the instructions in Threads #126 are good and helpful. However, when I tried to attach the waistband to the pants, something didn't look quite right: I had somehow sewn the pants together upside down, mixing up the inseams and the outseams, so I have a toile that has REALLY short legs, and is REALLY high-waisted!

Fortunately I used fabric I didn't love (a thrifted cotton knit jersey bedsheet) and I am not sure wondering if I can simply cut off the serged edges and re-stitch them, because I will lose at minimum an inch of width on the pants if I do so. Might need to start over entirely with new fabric to see if the toile will fit me properly. I mostly never wear pants at all, and so don't usually sew pants for self. This pattern is from a pair of loose leggings that do fit me and are VERY COMFORTABLE. All I can do is look at my goofy mistake and laugh.
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Compared to many parts of the country, our relatively mild climate is both good and problematical. The media, and many people who live in much more intensely wintery places, find it amusing how only a little bit of snow and ice causes widespread panic here in the PNW. Truth be told, there is very little in the way of municipal snow removal infrastructure here, very few plows etc...

Last week before the most recent ice storm hit, I trundled out to the little Green Zebra grocery to pick up a bit of extra produce and a quart of milk, so I'd be set for a few days. While they were not exceptionally crowded, for a Saturday, the man behind me in line said that the local big grocery store had lines almost an hour long, to which I replied, it's only a winter storm, not the Apocalypse.

Sure enough, we did get quite a layer of ice on everything this weekend, and I had to put on my YakTrax to to chicken chores. With my dodgy legs, I try and be cautious about slip-sliding away. Today, as the weather warmed, the result was lots of water OVER packed ice. Not safe walking, so the YakTrax were again deployed for my trip to Physical Therapy. By the time I was home again, the ice was gone, at least for the time being.
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Well that was interesting... got a notice last week from the water bureau, the "home water report"... apparently Acorn Cottage ranks in the top 20% of conservation households. Average for similar house and yard size is 157 GPD (gallons per day). Usage here is 16 GPD !
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January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 - reframed charterpaper recycle
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

several Sunday snippets


in which our plucky heroine attempts to raise her spirits by raising her activity level...

...at least as much as is possible when the outdoors is a sheet of ice. Went as far as Green Zebra yesterday to pick up extra produce and a container of milk, but then decided against any further travel since the snow was picking up. We didn't get anywhere near as much as places further south, or higher up; the grass is visible under the snow, here, but there is ice layers all over the place (this afternoon I took the flat end shovel, and cracked away all the ice over the concrete next to the back door, so as to render chook patrol less fraught with danger)

In the interest of starting 2017 off in a positive direction, I am going to be offering Enameling Workshops here at Acorn Cottage, on the weekends of January 28th/29th, and February 4th/5th... anyone out there interested and available at either of those times? All materials and supplies would be provided, as well as knowledgeable instruction. Cost for the workshop will be $250. Completion of a workshop allows you to come to my open studio times for further fun with enamel...
I intend to to offer workshops here at Acorn Cottage throughout the year on various skills, not only cloisonne, or painting enamel, but other jewelry techniques, as well as sewing and decorative textile arts. Some will be whole weekend workshops, others for either a day, or an evening. Is there anything you would like to learn from me? drop me a line...

Spent almost two hours this morning working on the black/cream wool pinafore, as my next SWAP garment. Decided that timing how long it takes to complete will be helpful in future estimates of sewing commissions. I am suspecting that my rough estimate of about four hours labor is likely to be close. So far I am up to 2¾ hrs, and still have all the edge binding, and attaching the skirt to the bodice yet to go; tempting to just go on and finish it today...


my interpretation of "wintery mix" (where snow starts to turn back to rain and vice versa)...


January SMART goals
# THINGS MADE THINGS FIXED THINGS GONE
1 black/cream pinafore brown pinafore hemexpired medicines
2 - -paper recycle
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