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...
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More Inktober drawings:

13. teeming


14. fierce


15. mysterious


16. fat


17. graceful


18. filthy


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

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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...
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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!)...
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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

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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..
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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...
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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!

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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.
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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

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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)
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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!

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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.
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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
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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!
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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

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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.

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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....
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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

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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