Friday, September 24, 2021

Storm passed safely, dolls in disarray

The storm was less dramatic than feared, minor flooding, son home from work before it got under way. All's well. But it's good I brought in the ficus. The storm would have battered her 

For non US readers, the title refers to the NYT (newspaper) every time the Democrats start doing good things, screaming headlines:  Dems in Disarray!

Meanwhile the moving caused a few attendant changes. There's not much choice of where to put furniture in this engineered space, without blocking your own path. So all my attempts result in minor effects.

I did move a couple of things, including the doll colony, which now looks like the shore in summer, an extrovert's delight. 

The Dollivers insisted that the bears be downstairs, in account of the noise. The bears thumped about and shouted what noise? We're good neighbors, we are. And what about them there dogs, barking and running and jumping? But the Dollivers won, as the handmade people do.

The bears' table is now a plant stand

Meanwhile in the space the Dollivers vacated, gracious living seems to be under way. 

This is looking more like a sociological study than home decor. All art is political.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Another storm on the way

 This is our current situation

That dark green bit around the middle is me. The wind has already got up, tearing out and throwing down the ficus tree which had put down new roots after being displaced once by the benighted fence situation. Tore most of the roots. 

So, since I usually bring her in around early October, I thought I may as well do it now before she has to weather another storm. 

Not easy to wrangle an eight foot tree  singlehanded,  across the patio, over the doorstep, past the screen door and storm door, and the curtains and other houseplants.  Even more fun in a high wind which nearly tore out my own roots a time or two. 

I did get the roots clipped, then remembered the saucer in the storage area, to set it in. Ran across the house, out the front door, to retrieve it.  Pausing only to clout a lantern fly which was strolling about the front screen door, using my handy clippers to flatten it, beautiful but a serious food pest, I reunited tree and saucer.

Hitched it, tree not saucer, to the screws in the wall which keep it upright since it's gone more lopsided with age, haven't we all, and here she is.

Lights on in her honor. She's about fifty years old at this point, eight feet tall, brushing the ceiling. Doesn't owe anyone anything. I hope she hasn't brought any wildlife in with her. I often find a little frog or toad hitchhiker in the fall. 

This wasn't how I originally planned today. I thought I'd be gently humming and sewing, gathering the skirt. Not panting and snarling and hauling and shoving and heaving a tree. 

When I've recovered, I might get to sewing. After I've prepped the veggies I had to shop for, before the storm, which Misfits failed to send, the veggies, not the storm. But who's counting.

After a contretemps like this I'm always profoundly grateful I can still do this labor anyway. So there's that.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

First day of Fall

And the sycamore propellers are coming down. 

See how the wind whirled them into a circle on the path? Do you remember as kids trying to pinch them onto your ears, then balance them on top, like earrings? Then tie them into a necklace? 

A walk in the park today and there's the first lovely fall sky, cloudy, fast moving. 

First tinge of color change in the trees. It's only been down to the 40s overnight, no touch of frost yet.

While I'm waiting for my Misfits box minus broccoli, I'm doing the running stitches around the waist of the skirt, ready to gather into the waistband.

Handy selvedge markings provided a straight line to follow.

Usual approach: two gathering threads, strong thread, running in opposite circles but following the same footstep to make even gathers. Next I'll close the ends of the waistband, ready to pin the divisions in it. Same with marking divisions in  skirt body, to get gathers evenly distributed. I think that's for tomorrow.

So Misfits box finally arrived, nearly 6 pm., Four hours later than I used to get delivery. And it felt a bit light when I brought it in. Usually it's a struggle to get it over the step while navigating the storm door. Then I opened it and thought it looked a bit skimpy.

Checked my list and found it was missing several items. So I notified them and will get a refund. A refund doesn't make up for not getting what I ordered when I was counting on it. I rarely had lateness and missing items problems before. And apples came in ordinary noncompostable plastic bags. I never do that. 

Since I changed delivery days it's been much less satisfactory. This might mean that Wednesday deliveries (Tuesday packing)  are not so good at the source nor at FedEx locally. I think I'll try switching back to Friday delivery (Thursday packing) and see.  Misfits may be growing too fast, too. They keep announcing new regions.

What arrived is fine, and here's my salad supper of spinach, celery and a gala apple, with a ribbon of mayo. 

But I'm currently a somewhat dubious camper. Poor me!

Textile Tuesday, on Wednesday

Yesterday's textile Tuesday featured Deborah Jarchow, whose book 

is a lot of fun for anyone wanting to explore a whole lot of weaving and other textile ideas. It's a great tasting event, and she turns out to be a cheerful weaver in person, too. It's in the collection of our local library, and you might want to see if you can borrow it locally.

She creates large exhibit pieces such as these wrapped tubes

And wearable art like these

Since she's in the middle of building a house which will contain her studio, she hasn't a studio right now, so she used a virtual background which shows a fraction of her yarns and looms. 

She loves the rigid heddle, as well as floor looms, has rhs in all sizes and has a book coming out at the end of the year on approaches to the rigid heddle loom. 

It's a simple device, portable and, she points out, great to try, to see if you like weaving before embarking on a floor loom, if you ever do. I love the rigid heddle concept, even carved myself a small one from plastic, a la Sarah Swett, except she used wood.

I was given my loom by the embroiderers guild, nobody needing to use it. But if ever anyone does, I'll lend it out gladly.

Here's the loom

The slotted part is the rigid heddle. Warp strands are threaded through those slots to maintain even spacing, and the heddle is raised and lowered to change the shed.  The green slip is my notes reminding me how to warp it.

And here's one of the wall hanging experiments I made on it. I tried all kinds of weaving ideas here.

Many of the threads donated, thank you K!

While I was pulling out the rh loom I brought out my handheld signed Hokel and my lovely American made metal potholder loom on which I've made a lot of things that were not potholders. It's versatile.

Anyway watching her definitely revived my interest in weaving again. I notice how often the people on this series are just so happy. They're serious workers, but far from solemn, a great promotion for the pleasure of working in textiles.


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Sewing and snoozing

Today was going to be about starting to cut and sew my skirt, then take a local  expedition to the pond, to walk the trail with water on both sides. 

However last night's missing sleep and early hours' blogging changed the plan.

I started the skirt, I love how this rayon challis handles, soft but not too slippery. The pattern is multidirectional so no need to look out for how to cut to get it right way up, and I'm not using a pattern.

Here, left to right, the pieces. 

Left is the main bit, middle is the waistband, right the future pockets. They'll probably be patch, because there's only one seam, so inserting two pockets might be a strain on the fabric on the side where I'd have to cut an opening in the fabric, rather than just leave an opening in a seam, to insert the pocket.

Then the seam will be French, an enclosed type of double seam where you run one line of stitching wrong sides together, 

then turn it inside out, fold down the fabric, rolling it to raise the seam, then stitch another line right sides together, to enclose the first stitching. 

It's a lovely seam, with lightweight fabrics where there's not much strain on the seam. Expensive underwear used to be French seamed. So my exclusive custom designed unique skirt will, too.

The idea I've decided on  is to gather the main piece into the waistband which will be wide enough to navigate my hips, and then run elastic through the band to make it snug. 

That way there's no placket to be fussing with, and it avoids the bulk I'd get by just gathering the waist directly with elastic, and I can still get into it, always a good point.

So far, so really good.

Then, ready to leave for the Pond,  bag, water bottle, hat, keys, I suddenly realized I was tired. So, change of plan. An hour's sleep, then a local walk, no driving.

This year the fall fruits and nuts are spectacular. 

Staggering about on a carpet of acorns, beechnuts, hazel, black walnuts to get these pictures.

What's this?

I'm sure I know it, can't name it. Bits of its fluff flying everywhere.

And a late flowering honeysuckle, among all the berries of its faster friends.

Many insects, too including a large white butt wasp with a black and white striped shirt. I  kept a respectful distance in case it was a hornet, since it was burly as these animals go. Hence no picture.

I might check in on Textiles Tuesday, and if it's interesting I'll get back to you tomorrow.

Meanwhile drinking tea, reading an Andy Carpenter on my Kindle. I got a message from Misfits saying sorry, one item can't be delivered in tomorrow's box. So no broccoli, but I'll live. I'd have been more perturbed if it had been the honey crisp apples for which I have crumble plans.

Another fine day

Yesterday was a great walking day. Local sights

Can anyone id this fruiting shrub at the edge of trees? Maybe wild cherry? Except they're usually much smaller and red. Mulberry? 

Here's goldenrod, flourishing everywhere

It blooms near ragweed which is more inconspicuous, and people used to blame goldenrod for their ragweed allergies.

Here's a squirrel busy tackling an acorn snack. 

Yesterday saw the completion of my first microseason journaling. Just a few words each day to record natural sightings

I embroidered a little motif to cover the stain on the tee, and now I will wear it. When I get up later today, in fact.


Awake in the middle of the night, so I'm happily blogging instead of irritably trying to sleep. Lovely that I don't have to be worried about how to get in a day at work after a sleepless night. Such luxury.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Crumpets, beaded figure, wabi sabi

A coda from yesterday: i did in fact get a dusky in my Preserve pictures. Late but still lovely

Onward to today and the almost finished Beaded Figure

Not stitched permanently yet, just assembled so I can consider it for a day. I think it's done, but I'll allow for late breaking ideas because you never know.

While that's happening and before I start on the yellow skirt that's next, I went to get dressed and pulled out yet again this t-shirt which I like except for the immoveable stain right at the front neck line which has resisted many removal efforts. 

I'll do the other thing. Make it fancy. This afternoon. Then I'll wear it instead of sadly hanging it up yet again.

Today I had the last of my bread for breakfast, so I needed a bread related item. I've been searching for my crumpet rings on and off for days, found many other items in the kitchen, but the rings were in hiding. Until I found them on a shelf behind another set of shelves, slid into a glass pan wrapped in a towel. I expect I had a reason for this. They're egg poaching rings, too. 

Anyway I was finally able to make crumpets, good for breakfast or teatime, using Jack Monroe's recipe. You can Google on her, or squint at this little version of mine with quantities translated for us benighted imperial measure folks.

These are fun in slow motion. You make the batter, a yeast event, then it needs an hour to rise. Then you fry each batch, in my case three is all I can fit in the pan at a time, for 12 minutes, each batch, low flame. This gets pretty long and drawn out, but you end with a batch which you can freeze if you like. 

Chef's sample. I used half white half  wholewheat.

I got a lot more than the ten Jack says, and I'll keep a few in the fridge, wrap the rest individually in parchment paper, and handsome Son will get his share whenever he shows up. 

Toasted, buttered, with or without jam, his choice. Also good toasted with cheese, sharp cheddar best.

So then it was now.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Perfect day for the Preserve

Clear sky, temps in the low 80s, low humidity, just right for that postponed walk on the Preserve. 

But first I did a bit of local observing for my seasons notebook. The first acorns.

Birds and squirrels have been enjoying dogwood berries

So, back home,  I assembled a vignette

Artists among us no doubt noted the homage to Cezanne and nearer home, Milton Avery. The vertiginous foreground is what I mean. No one does vertiginous better than they do.

Then off to the Preserve. I had hoped for a spell of sitting by the lake in the one tiny place with a waterside bench. Today it was occupied by a group, too close for comfort, so I had to pass. But they were videotaping and having a lovely time. It's great to see enjoyment in action.

I went to the beechwood instead, and caught other interesting sights. 

Fleabane, big clump at the edge of the trees.

Dead nettle here. Beautiful wildflowers with rotten names whose idea was this. 

This immediate area has vernal ponds, tiny ones, with all sorts of aquatic life which appear magically each year and leave when the spring moves on and the ponds dry up.

Since there were people bumbling about on the regular farm road trail, I slipped from the wood to the parallel field trail on my way back.

Those woods are full of deer. None visible today, but at dusk they'll emerge.

Butterflies everywhere, which didn't show up in my pix, lovely dusky swallowtail butterflies, you have to take my word on them. Many little green grasshoppers, one of which I think came home with me, but it jumped off me in the house and I can't find it.

There are many bayberry bushes in the Preserve, no berries yet, and if you collect and boil down 24,586,342 of them you'll manage a candle. Those settlers had their work cut out. The women, that is. 

Home now, roasting fries, sweet and white potatoes, fir supper, knitting more of the beaded figure's top, drinking tea, blogging to you, friends.

Doesn't get much better!