Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Page one done, hello sun, and spiral socks

Here's the first page of the fabric book completed 

Leaving a space in the creation continuum for Ministry Socks, this time spiral tube socks, a while since I knitted any. 

This was in the afternoon, and I made good use of the morning by sending off packages to various people. I hope they please, and arrive okay.

There was quite a bit of user error in the mailing process, since I picked out what I thought were regular priority mail cardboard envelopes, laboriously addressed and stuffed and sealed them, trying to get the right items in the right envelope.

Nice man at the counter said before we do this, did you realize the blue printing means overnight, and it's $35 per? Well, no, since it didn't say so. 

He provided me with sympathy and new envelopes and labels and I went through the whooooole thing again, after opening the wrong envelopes, transferring the contents to the right, affordable, kind, and wrote alllll the addresses again.

Nice man said we usually try to catch people picking up the blue ones, sorry I missed you. All fine now.  No thanks to whoever designed the $-$-** blue printed envelopes.

It was warm, even to the point of  finally pushing me into washing down the patio chairs. 

Which I did, after reading outside and possibly sleeping and dreaming of stitching, lovely afternoon. Lemon tea. Woodpeckers working, little butterfly, maybe a red admiral, a bit early for the butterfly bush. 

The chives are budding up, as you see,  and I might make paneer and stud it with chive blossoms when they appear.

Handsome Son plans to visit Tuesday after I get home from Tuesday knitting group, so the little stash of ANZAC biscuits in the freezer will come out, along with some chocolate covered almonds. Weather back to the 60s, so it's an indoor extravaganza.

Happy day, everyone, and here's a thought 

Speaking of annoying insects, I have an update on the ants on the counter. They're gone. Except for a few tiny corpses. The mixture evidently worked. Down from dozens of them all over everything, to maybe two enfeebled survivors.

And, another clever update: the dryer that partly broke down? I decided it was a computer related issue so I did the classic unplug everything, go away, try again next day, plug in, reset dials. And to my complete astonishment, I mean my complete expectation, it works fine again. 

So I'm better at complex electronic repairs than at posting parcels. Or something.

Monday, April 29, 2024

Afternoon on the patio, season opener

The temp suddenly went from below freezing to 80°f, not unusual for NJ April, at least no blizzard this year.

So I had a wonderful patio afternoon of tea and stitching and reading my cosy mystery, quite a body count, and listening to woodpeckers working hard, rattling away,  also pecking nest sites. Probably the flickers I saw nearby. Leaves on the old trees soaring above the roofs that  spring bright green.

I'd taken a walk, no biting insects, this is a blessed time. Just a couple of wild golf balls rattling off the trees near me.

And I had a chat with Billy The Pup, who's growing up to be a great big dog, who now chews his toy, not Gary's sneakers 

You lookin at me?

This morning I spent cooking from Yeung Man Cooking on YouTube, and recommend him for, aside from good food, the ASMR of a calm, lovely guy, explaining quietly, no drama, great contrast with a lot of excitable presenters.

Today it was 

He used basmati rice and I had only white jasmine, but it was okay. I remembered to put the lentils in to soak the night before. 

And here's some of the process. It's worth cutting the ingredients finely, to spread the flavor better.

Recipe wanted ground coriander, and I had only coriander seeds, so I ground them with my heavier rolling pin, and that worked. Easier than my tiny mortar and pestle.

And this really came out well. Every forkful was a bit different with sparks of the various spices and ginger and garlic. There's tomato, too, and I think I'll add more to my next helpings, because it was a great contrast.

It also made a lot. Another bowl in the fridge, three more helpings in the freezer. It's the kind of recipe to make when you have time and the right outlook for chopping and adding and several stages. I even remembered to rinse the rice. 

And I'm about to embark on Wilma's recommendation 

It's relevant to the 1619 Project, another part of the black history of the US, the many years of migration north in (a vain) search of a better life.  It's another of those books that may be hard reading but I owe it.

Can't end on a sad note, so

Happy day everyone, tend to whatever sheep or maybe ship,  you're tending today! Which reminds me I may have neglected to give you a couple of haggard Hawks puzzle answers. Catching up, just in case



Sunday, April 28, 2024

I did all the things

I put together some exciting little packages for blogistas, to mail out on Monday.  No pictures. Classified.

Then, since I'm going to the post office anyway with them, I finished off the second glove for the Sock and Glove Ministry, to send at the same time.

Two pairs of gloves, one of socks. I think my next socks will be spiral ones for a change.

Then Gary came over with a request, which we'd talked about a few days ago.

This is a Japanese silk window sail I made for him, he tells me ten years ago, which hangs in his loft skylight window and moves gently when there's a breeze.  It's held in place by tension rods. He'd seen this one I made for my own similar window, 

and admired it until I took the hint and made one for him. 

His is wearing out a bit at the rod, so I'm going to do a repair on it. It's a lovely piece of fabric. My own is just an upcycled pillow case. 

So that will happen. And, speaking of critter deterrents,  I'm trying yet another approach to fighting the ants on the kitchen counters. None at the baseboards, so they must be in the wall. Everyone has them. These are so small they can get into screw cap jars, just climbing in the threads.

The latest WMD is equal parts borax, baking soda and confectioners sugar, in a shallow container, some artfully spilled, to attract them. I notice a lot fewer ants on the counter this morning, so I'm hopeful.  I'm certainly tired of sharing my own food with them.

On a cheerier subject, in response to various messages I've had about the construction of the slot and tab fabric book, I deconstructed mine to show you 

Here's the constructed book with the pages temporarily numbered with masking tape and marker, showing you the usual page sequence.

Then I took the book apart, and now you see how the numbers work before you construct it.

One side 

Other side 

Done this way you can slide the pages together into the right sequence. It's a kind of Chinese puzzle of a project. This is why I referred you to Ann Wood's website, where she gives you number diagrams and a step by step of the construction sequence. 

You need them if there's a sequence to your stitched pages, such as seasons, or some such progression. Mine didn't have that kind of logical progression, aside from deciding which pages I wanted for front and back covers.

And yes, I did get it reassembled after the pictures!  Some people try this out with blank fabric pages before getting into all the stitching it entails. 

My current stitched book might become a tab and slot, or maybe an accordion. We'll see.

When Elizabeth of York gets a bit heavy -- oh, Weir doesn't accept the Josephine Tey version of Richard III's innocence of the Princes in the Tower disappearance. As laid out in Daughter of Time, which is worth reading if you haven't yet.

Tey discounts Thomas More  as using third hand gossip to accuse Richard. Weir clearly accepts More, and has staked her credibility on Richard's guilt. A lot of writers and academics have. They have a lot to lose by backing down. And Weir gets very defensive on the subject, aha!

Where was I? Oh yes, when it gets heavy going, I've started on this, another Dinner Ladies adventure.

Happy day, everyone, no need to do all the things. Some is fine. None is okay too.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Tree question, stitching updates and planting

Cold but bright sunshine today, good for walking.  

Dogwood lovely against the bigger trees 

And further down the walk, is this sapling a young black walnut? There are nature ones close by,  self propagated, maybe with the help of squirrels.

And stitching is moving along happily 

Also I've been wanting to plant and the weather's been too cold to put in seeds, but today I planted potato eyes in a container for my annual two meal harvest.

The qtips are squirrel deterrents. Soaked in essential peppermint oil, not the baking essence, the real thing, and stuck around the pot, squirrels won't dig. 

Here's the kit, the bottle marked Not Food, and kept away from the spice cabinets.

I saw a squirrel burrowing away in the pots I haven't planted yet and staying away from this one.  It doesn't hurt them. They just avoid the scent.

No Friday knitting group today because our fearless leader was away and I felt a bit tired anyway. So I did a bit of walking and planting and stitching and reading, back with Elizabeth of York, in the middle of which I seem to have nodded off and missed a couple of battles and exiles. 

Happy day, everyone, try to stay alert for the main plot of your life today.

Thursday, April 25, 2024

Stitching, renovating, Misfits and cabbage

Early morning start on stitching today and I really enjoyed just doing whatever suggested itself. I've left the book fabric intact for now, so I can see the different pages as they emerge. 

After trotting up and down a flight in search of floss, I finally brought down some of the floss drawers to where I was working on the sofa

Picture is sideways, and the little rug you see on the left is that piece I wove a while back, which saw me nicely through the winter.

While I stitched I listened to Norman Baker, former member of parliament and cabinet minister, examining the finances and secrecy of the British royals. 

The title refers to one of the classic questions put by royals at receptions, to their guests.

It's a good analysis of the general economy of the country and the extent to which the royals seize income and gifts, while spending carefully. 

This surge of stitched book interest is the result of getting some artworks sent out into the world, some on their way soon to blogistas,  when I get to the post office. 

I've picked out a couple of things I think you'll like. The mental space they're leaving causes new energy and ideas to flow, so thank you. 

Misfits came, too, minus a couple of items, but I'm not near starving. The swiss cheese was going on top of the second cabbage casserole, the cheddar into it.

The chocolate covered almond bits are highly nutritious (!) vital dietary component.

Later, here's the casserole 

The top was browned and it was pretty good. That's the cabbage sorted.

Later Gary came over to bring me in to see his latest renovation, or endless renovation. He seems to be rebuilding the entire fireplace wall now. Not sure why, it may be one of those one thing led to another situations that happen to him.

Happy day everyone, I hope good things happen to you today.

Tab and slot book, ANZAC Day

Thursday is ANZAC DAY, which I mark every year. If you're not familiar with the tragedy of the Dardanelles in WW1, and the blunders which cost so many young Australian and New Zealand lives, Google is your friend. Today we honor all the women and men in combat, and veterans.

As a mom I make ANZAC biscuits (cookies in north America) and give them to friends to honor that courage. They're based on the cookies that ANZAC moms sent to their sons in combat. They were a taste of home, they shipped well, long voyage in those days.

I omit the coconut the authentic ones had, and use honey because golden syrup isn't available here. But they're still good 

Chewy, good stuff 

I also got on with my fabric book, making the wall hanging into a tab and slot deal. 

Top page shows tab, meaning slits top and bottom, bottom one slot, which enables the tab page to slide through and sit with tab and slot working together .

Next shows the spine, all the pages seated.

Here I'm turning the pages 

This was a nice experience. I know how it works now 

Then I went on to new stitching, prepped unbleached muslin for upcoming book, ironed it into sections without cutting.

I also made a cool discovery. I accidentally made indentations into the muslin when stray threads got ironed in, leaving tracks.

This is a great way to plan a design without markings 

So I put down a piece of twine and ironed over it. One side makes an indentation, the other side an embossment.

So I embarked on a new stitching, why not, using the indentation as a channel to lay the thread I couched down. .

Just random stitching, trala. Really enjoying this.  This might end as another slot and tab, don't know yet. It might have some Indian quilt techniques. Maybe beading, I feel an attack of beading coming on.

I do know that Ann Wood, check her website,  is a model teacher of process.

Gary has been busy helping a neighbor dig her garden last couple of days so I haven't seen him other than a flying visit to ask me about ants on a houseplant cactus! 

Happy day everyone, and be sure to spare a thought for everyone in combat of all kinds right now and their families.