Friday, December 31, 2021

Misfits box reveal

 It being Friday, two weeks since last Misfits delivery, my box arrived. More modest this week, what with the vegetables already  in the freezer and the fish and all.

The ordered  pita bread wasn't included, but an unordered jar of dried basil was. They'll refund me for the bread. 

And I got a year end State of Boud's Box report, all about what I ordered, what I saved etc. 

It's heartening reading, since I've been eating very well, all organic and nice condition. For the entire year, including pantry items such as olive oil and broth and baking needs, flour, yeast, baking powder, and canned goods,  I spent $877, and saved approximately $730. 

I made 25 orders and the total includes the flat shipping rate of $4.50 per box, any size box.

This is the first full year of ordering from them, since I shopped at the local farm till late September 2020, near the end of the growing year here.

This is definitely a good thing. I live in an expensive region, and it was clear from comparable  local organic prices that I was making a great saving. 

This might not apply so much if you live in a place with a lower cost of living, but I think anyone probably can save to some extent.

I also was spared shopping trips in winter, and didn't need to rely on Handsome Son, who would have done it, did it for the first several months of the pandemic, but he works so many hours, didn't want to add to his demands.

Anyway this isn't a commercial for Misfits, just a nice end of year finding.

All in all, happy camper, very glad I tried it.

It's all good!

And since it's New Year's Eve, wishing you a much better new year, and as late Scots husband would say:

Lang may yer lum reek!*

*Translation for Sassenach readers: long may your chimney smoke, meaning long life to you.

This year brought continuing old friends to this 'ere blog, and new ones, too, thank you for joining us. You're all very important to me, everyone, with advice and encouragement and good humor and your own blogs which never fail to lift my spirits. Wishing you all a good Nerdy  (Scots for New Year's Day).

Thursday, December 30, 2021

Rebuilding, comfort food, reading plans

Ready for the holiday, I've stocked up on reading and viewing.

New Year's Eve viewing is a Wallace and Gromit feature

which I haven't seen before. Aardman have produced some of the funniest animation videos ever, and this will be a nice finale to an iffy year.

Then peaceful reading, Angela Thirkell, a writer I used to have no patience with, thought she was snobbish and Not Funny. 

Now I get her better and really enjoy her sending up of snobbish people. I understand she's not poaching on Trollope's settings or characters, but respectfully extending them. So I'm set for a marathon

And I'm revisiting Watts Towers, the solo work of visionary folk artist, Simon Rodia, now a national landmark. 

Created from scrap materials, broken dishes, glass, shells, wire, over years, it was his dream to make something big.  

I like to go back and revisit his ideas now and then, and this book, intended for young readers and perfectly fine for all of us, is a great way to do it.

Talking of building, remember the fire I missed over Diwali, which wiped out the dumpster enclosure? 

Today is the rebuilding. Just a day's work.

Nice to watch a crew working flawlessly together, knowing what they're doing.

And comfort food is important to close out a stressful year. I've been vaguely thinking about milk puddings, as in childhood, and since I didn't have macaroni, my first thought, it having all gone into soup, I remembered my mom used to make vermicelli pudding. 

I sort of remembered how it went, looked up the time and temperature, and went from there.

So, I have some good Italian pasta, and next thing, this was happening. 

Cooked pasta, added into a milk, egg, sugar, golden raisin,  vanilla mixture, knob of butter, then all baked for an hour at 350°f.

I love food baked in glass dishes

Pretty good. The new napkins in action already.

That should round out the year. Laundry done, bed changed, next,  garbage out, and I'm set. I won't be too sorry to wave goodbye to the old year.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Dyeing discoveries, again

One of the great things about natural dyeing is that you get surprises and discoveries all the time.

So, I overdyed the linen for the tray cloths and napkins with a mixture of turmeric and yellow onionskins.

Then I thought I might dip dye them using a lily flower from the birthday bouquet and some pomegranate rinds I had in the freezer.

You'd expect a pinkish yellow, maybe

But I have enough experience not to assume anything. I did check this lovely book, which I hugely recommend if you fancy a bit of dyeing, Sasha Duerr's book

And they mention on the pomegranate page that it's not only a dye material, it's also a mordant, meaning it should attach pretty well to your fabric. And you can influence the color by adding alum and washing soda, both well known mordants, too, so I added them to the dyebath.

And got a positive explosion of yellow foam, which turned a lovely warm olive green in the dyebath, paler on fabric.

Here's the fine once-white cotton I drained it through.  Very delicate shade.  The dye looks brown here, oddly, because the camera's picking up underlying shades. It's green to the eye.

So fine, this is so much more interesting than synthetic dyes which come out the color on the packet, fine if you like it, but I fancied something else.

And I set up a dipdyeing station, and hung two pieces of the dyed fabric so just the ends trailed in the dye, and left them that way for a couple of hours.

Those cabinet doors have assisted in many a yarn and fabric dyeing session.

I knew the olive would not register like a solid color, but break into many shades, very few of which my camera can pick up, but subtle and very pleasing in person.

There are areas of pink, and the browns from the black walnut dye now have a pink cast. It's just very nice to handle.

One set of tray cloth and two napkins I left as is, and the other set I stamped, with a hand carved block and a commercially made bird.

I also made a set which I didn't dye, just cut and stitched to size.

Another advantage of designing your own fabric is that you don't have to work around the designs to get what you want. You just make the item then dye and stamp so the color and stamping is already where you want it to be. 

The shades and shapes are subtle to the point of imperceptible to eyes used to solid color commercial dyeing. You have to get tuned in!

This was a lot of fun. 

I did have motivation to get right on this, since last night I found that the convent where I learned goldwork embroidery with the Guild, and to whom I owe hundreds of hours of joy and exhibits and sales,  and where I took part in a Zoom centering prayer group, anyway, they have a knitting ministry.

The little community of Anglican sisters, which is very much focused on hands on social activism, knits in their recreation periods and gives the output directly to homeless people locally and in their New York city outreach.

Yesterday I found from their newsletter that in the whole group there's only one sock knitter.  So I wrote and said this just isn't right! They've been donated a lot of sock yarn and their sockly needs are pressing.

As of this morning they'd got back to me, very excited, agreed that socks are a continuing need. Sooooo they're sending me a batch of yarn, and I'll do a bit of ministry. 

They're not of my religion, not relevant when there's a need which they're handling in person. So, exciting new year project, and I cleared the decks a bit in anticipation.

Particularly important to have community ties this winter with the pandemic back up to speed -- again my state's a hotspot, after doing very well, isolation back again for me.  So this helps everyone.

And I had been considering whether to push on with my proposed exhibit of art dolls and stitching at the library. I'd pretty much concluded there was no point in setting up a textile/ abstract doll exhibit if nobody was going to see it, and it can wait.

I went to pick up books there this morning and found they've already closed to the public, and they brought my books to the door. So that confirms it, I guess.

Meanwhile, in the course of finding the natural dyeing book, I came across these dried flowers. 

They're too fragile to use in an artwork, so I made this image, which I can print out on silk organza and use that in an artwork. Waste nothing!

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Textiles and Tea, Melanie Olde

 Today it was

An inspired Australian weaver, who declares "no boundaries!" in her virtuoso three dimensional complex weaving, based on early studies in Italy of the Jacquard structure. 

She took the courses in Florence, and studied Jacquard texture as well as velvet weaving, which is more than warp and weft. Here's a Florentine artwork depicting weaving, and the equipment for making the punch cards which are the underlying mechanism of Jacquard weaving structure.

Before she started her presentation, she paid tribute to the original peoples of Australia and the art and reverence for the land they bequeathed and continue to live.  It was lovely, she acknowledged the debt today's Australia owes them.

She herself has done production weaving, industrial style, and her mother was herself a production weaver and designer in the Australian textile industry.

Here's a young Melanie at work, alongside a shot of her mother's working notebook.

She was an early teacher of weaving to Melanie, who took to it rapidly.

She's fearless in her approach, from traditional two dimensional weaving to three dimensions, with multiple threads, silk, clear filament, washi paper, whatever works for the concept. 

She uses computers where they're useful for design, and pencil and paper, too. And she delves into the math of woven structure in the course of working in three dimensions.  

At times her approach is almost mystical as she lets the materials do what they want as well as what she wants. She develops a relationship with each piece.  She's very ready to acknowledge the influence of other weavers and painters, a generous approach.

Here she's showing a woven paper piece. The image is blurry because she was waving it around!

Bottom left is woven washi paper.

She was an inspirational speaker, equally on point with avant garde art weaving and industrial production. She's currently interested in how the friction in weaving can literally generate energy for use, and is following researchers currently working on the concept. It fits in with her concern for the earth and reverence for materials.

This was an entirely new and astonishing aspect to this viewer. I suspect she's always going to explore new and astonishing work. 

Monday, December 27, 2021

Wintry, iron hard cold, hygge required

So I made a large pot of soup, pumpkin, leek, chickpea, and macaroni. Very sturdy, proof against the cold.

And since I was out of any bread-like food, baked a batch of scone-like items, with golden raisins and a walnut on top. 

Drone's eye view of teatray, apricot sauce ready to add to scone-like items.

So above is what it looks like. Below is what it feels  like

Art by Jill Barklem

Winter's afternoon around here.

I also had some high falutin' thoughts about white space in music and art and decided they could wait for now.