Monday, December 10, 2018

Some days are like that


Last weekend found our family once again standing on Wall Street for the Christmas parade.  I have visited the Columbia outlet store several times and now have adequately warm clothes to do this and enjoy myself.

The trombonist on the right is grandson Evan and the instrument is the same one my son played in high school.  I find that touching.  Tomorrow night is Evan’s high school Christmas concert and that about wraps up the year for him.  This Thursday is my final day reading to kinders through the SMART program and that wraps up the school year for me too.  My kinders have been a pleasure this year - I can understand what they say!  Sometimes I forget how young a five-year-old really is.

Saturday was about getting the tree dressed and ready for Christmas Eve company.  I don’t know why we didn’t think to put our collection of Woof-and-Poofs under the tree before but they look like they belong there.  And I still had time to do half of the Christmas cards.

I think they’re just as festive as wrapped packages, and since we stopped exchanging gifts years ago, the tree needs a little something under it - besides my cat.

Yesterday was our last play of the year at Cascade Theatre Company.  It was a radio play of A Miracle on 34th Street which we thoroughly enjoyed, but then we’ve enjoyed all their plays.  Ian and I had arrived a little early so were delighted when part of the play was watching the cast and crew get ready, as though this really were a radio broadcast, like announcing “15 minutes to air.”  They even had an Applause sign that lit up when it was time to applaud. Afterwards it was out to eat with our friends, talk about the play and laugh.

My first priority today was to finish the Christmas cards.  We’ve sent photo cards from Vistaprint for the past five years.  It’s pricey but we also enjoy receiving them.  This was a double-sided card so I used this shot I took in our front yard for the front side.

It took us FOREVER to pick the three photos for the back side, wanting them to say something about our year, and these were the winners.

There was still some time in the afternoon by the time the cards were done so I finished warping Arthur for table runners but the light was beginning to dim and since this is my first try at Overshot, I need better light, a fresher outlook and more patience because these pics need to come out.  By the time I had gotten this far I understood my mistakes, which is good sign.

I thought the light at least would be sufficient to clip the threads on the tartan scarves but it was a close call when I nearly clipped the scarf.  It’s time to let unfinshed things remain unfinished today and let them go. The scarf will be received by Christmas but the table runner won’t be ready.  Some days are like that.

Friday, November 30, 2018

I am so blue!


We are having another mild winter so far, just a couple of dustings but finally enough snow in the Cascades that Bachelor Ski Resort was able to open yesterday - finally!  I bought some winter sports gear from the Columbia outlet store and it makes morning walks so much more comfortable.  I was overwhelmed by the overheard activity on this frosty morning.  I’m not sure that jet contrails are healthy for the environment but they were sure pretty that day.

I popped into the Art Center last week to show it off to a couple of visiting friends and was introduced to a young guest artist who had rented space for two days to print his four-plate relief print of Mont Blanc in France.  We chatted briefly about the Gomuban he was using for his relief blocks and because it’s so soft, how easy it is to carve right through it.  We also had a short conversation on tracing techniques.  Nice guy, super handsome.  It wasn’t until a couple days later that I learned that it was Tommy Ford, the Olympic downhill and slalom racer who was here for a couple of days visiting family and to ski Bachelor before returning to his competition in the SuperG in Europe.  Our studio was able to acquire one of the seven prints which will be used as a fundraiser a little later.

I knitted a scarf from handspun yarn and entered it in the Nevada County Fair about ten years ago where it won a blue ribbon.  The fiber is a lucious blend of alpaca, silk and wool, a gift from Laura Cunningham which she called “fiber porn.”  It really was lovely to spin and I dyed it various shade of pink - don’t know why.  When she saw it she told me to overdye it with blue.  The scarf was super narrow and long so I never wore it.  Remedy that!!

Fast-forward, here is the scarf. I chose a Feather-and-Fan pattern and am really pleased with how the color gradations are showcased.  It’s hundred times better than it was.  I think I must have won the ribbon due to lack of competition.

We had some sun this morning so I took the opportunity of natural light to wind a warp from this cobalt blue yarn, a new color to me in weaving.  I going to weave overshot table runners but can’t start until my shuttles are freed up.  I have an Ott lamp I can use for the threading.  I’ve learned the hard way that I make mistakes when I don’t have adequate light when making a warp.  It feels good to have this on standby.

This is what I have to finish first, a Christmas gift for my daughter and a second one for me.  She asked me for the first one I wove, but I put it in the holiday sale with a steep price tag so no one would buy it, and they did.  It’s so pretty, I don’t mind weaving it again. I can’t believe how much fun it is to weave tartans and how easy they are.

I’m using four shuttles but only the black and blue stay attached.  Before this I had swapped out bobbins when I changed colors.  This is so much faster and easier.  And I’m actually making peace with my Bluster Bay shuttle.  I had planned to sell it to a guild member but am going to keep it for myself.

Linda Davis who taught the class I took has recently published a book, which is pretty much her class notes.  I wasn’t sure if I needed it but it’s only $12 on Amazon and I’m so glad I bought it.  There are some shortcuts and tips that I had forgotten.  She also gives tips to help you match your patterns if you weave cloth to sew, and I might just do that.
In proofing this post I couldn’t help notice how much blue is in my life.  And of course, my daily wear starts with blue jeans.  How could I have not noticed that before?!!

Friday, November 23, 2018

Passing the Baton


One of my assignments for Thanksgiving dinner is cherry pie.  Years ago when we all lived in Reno we would have quite the crowd and I baked three pies - pecan, apple and cherry.  This one is everyone’s favorite, and since I’m only making one pie I decided to make the crust with butter.  I had no idea that the characteristics of the crust would be so different than when I make it with Butter Crisco.  Someone told me that the chemistry of fat is different according to the fat.  This crust held together well and was pliable and malleable, and boy was it delicious.  It was a hit and I brought home an empty plate. I’m a believer.  Bye Bye Butter Crisco!!  I’ve always made good crust and I think the hand-thrown pie plate by Joe Winter is part of my success but there’s no comparison between my old crusts and the one we ate yesterday.

Son Josh and family went to Reno earlier in the month for a football game between UNR and Boise State, where grandson Logan attends on a band scholarship, and of course the band traveled to the game too.  They had a visit with my daughter who gave them a Christmas present for us that she had lost and recently found while deep cleaning in the house.  It’s from 2015 and is the names of our eight grandchildren.  Since then Gavin became a big brother to Rhett (Everett), and Matt and Julia are expecting Delaney Jane in April, which will bring the total to ten!  My kids went way too long before having their own kids, and just I thought I would never be a grandmother.  Happily I was wrong.

Logan told me recently that he’s decided to declare a visual arts major to go with his criminal justice major.  He told me yesterday that he has signed up for a basic photography class in January.  They’ll be using old fashion SLRs and developing their own film.  My first art and long-time hobby was photography and I even tried my hand with darkroom developing, even took a college class in it.  I asked him if he be interested in my old equipment and he leapt at the chance.  He has to go back to school today so came over this morning to check out my stuff.  He was really pleased and slung the Canon AE-1 around his neck like an old pro. He was surprised at the short strap and was looking to lengthen it, but I explained that it’s short for a reason - closer to your face and doesn’t get bumped around as much.

These are the lenses that fit that camera, and now they’re going to live in Idaho. I laughed at the two packets of lens wipes printed at .21 cents a packet.  I’ve had this stuff for awhile.  My original Canon died a slow and agonizing death.  It had a pin-hole light leak in the cloth shutter so periodically I had to put a drop of India ink on it, but when the tower broke and wouldn’t wind the film, it was time to retire it.  Sadly the film in the camera that day were the shots I had taken of my son’s high school graduation and they were ruined.  And there were four rolls of unexposed film.  I told him I only wanted the canisters to use in weaving for weighting broken warps or floating selvedges.

I also found the folder with some of the work I’ve kept.  I could only develop black and white and so focused on buildings and structures with texture, and old mine buildings were perfect for that.  I got derailed when I discovered Photoshop Elements.

I took a lot of shots of water towers and street lights when we visited New York City and this is one of my favorites.  I’m so happy to hand down my equipment to my grandson and I hope he enjoys it as much as I did.  Meanwhile I need to sign up for a Photoshop class.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Worth the Wait!


Our little herd of deer continue to hang out in our front yard.  Ian thinks that since the twins were born here and it’s been safe for them so far, that they’ve adopted our strip of natural vegetation.  We haven’t had rain in four months so we’re putting out buckets of water for them and they obliging us by drinking it up.

I haven’t made soap in quite a while and when we got down to our last two bars, I decided that as much as I don’t want to make my soap, I really do want to use it.

Our kitchen is half the size of our previous one and it was a challenge to weight out the oils and get everything assembled.  This will produce 24 bars.

This plastic plant carrier from the nursery is perfect for holding the 24 bars without tipping onto each other.  When I brought it downstairs I saw the note from my last batch.  I always put the date in it so I would know when the soap was cured, especially important when I was selling it.  It turns out that I made it November 29th last year and November 16th this year.

These are my essential oils which I thought hadn’t been packed in the move three years ago since I had never come across them.  I ordered a couple scents for the last two batches I made but they’re so expensive, it took the wind out of my soap-making sails.  We gave grandson Logan our camping supplies this summer and in going through the bins, Ian found all of these, carefully wrapped and snugged safely in with all the supplies.  Since we no longer camp, we didn’t look in these bins and they would have remained lost to me if we hadn’t passed everything along to Logan, who was thrilled by the way.

Matt and Julia were here today to connect the water to the sink and hang the towel bars which we just bought yesterday, bringing the bath to fully functional.  We have continued to use the upstairs bath in the meantime so it’s nice to be able to move back into the master.  It’s a small narrow space and Matt did a terrific job of making it beautiful.  We bought the white set of shelves at Redux, a consignment furniture place on Friday.  I wanted storage space for linens, something the house doesn’t have so I divided up our linens into the bedroom closets which are already small.  Downsizing has it’s foibles.  I have placed a basket below the towels because the door could hit the towel bar otherwise.  There are so many hard surfaces that the room has a bit of an echo.  Hanging the towels helped but I’m thinking about getting a silk flower arrangement for the top of the shelves to see if that would make any difference.

Here’s further demonstration of how narrow and long the room is.  The shower is where previously there was a bathtub which we never used, not even once.  Now we have to finish moving everything back in.  I’m going to shop for towels to replace these which are at least ten years old but I couldn’t see replacing them before now.

This is what we started with.

And this was the original shower, plus the toilet was low and the counter only 30” high.

Demolition started June 16th so it’s been a journey.  Matt built a 6” box and put it under the sink cabinet, elevating it to a wonderful 36”, the same as the kitchen counters.  I am no longer bowing to the sink god when I brush my teeth!  He could only work on weekends and only some of them, but the results are oh so worth the wait.  We are thrilled!  And Julia’s pregnancy is beginning to show!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Catching Up


These are from the last set of dishtowels I wove using some of the newer colors of Fiesta Ware.  I sold 16 towels at the Guild Holiday Show and Sale and more that I had to ship.  I’ve come to the conclusion that USPS costs slightly less than UPS, plus I have the convenience of printing my label and walking the package down to the mailbox.  I thought my life would get less busy this fall but so far it hasn’t happened. I’m not planning to weave more towels anytime soon.
My weave/study group is doing some interesting stuff with block weaves and software so I’m going to take off my vendor hat and put on a sampler one instead.  A friend asked me several months ago if I would teach her 23-year-old son to weave.  I haven’t been clear on how to fit that in but decided after our study group yesterday that once I have designed the warp and put it on the loom, there is no reason River can’t weave on it.  I’ll put enough yardage on so that we both will have a sample. I’m getting ready to warp the other loom for Christmas presents and I feel relieved now that I’ve thought of a solution.

This past Sunday morning we met up downtown for the Veterans Day Parade, which is a tradition now.  For the past three years, since we moved here, we have watched Logan in the combined high school marching band.  Now that Evan is a freshman, it’s his turn to have family watch him in this parade.  Evan’s 15th birthday is the 12th of this month so Logan came home from college in Boise for a surprise visit for Evan.  We all went out for a spontaneous dinner Saturday night, and then Logan stood with us for the parade.  The surprise visit was for Evan but it was a treat for me too.  It was super cold but as much as I’ve complained about the lack of precipitation, it sure was nice to be a spectator without it.

The birthday boy :-)

I’ve been trying very hard to find time to spend in the printmaking studio.  These are some of the work I’ve completed in the past two weeks.

These are another series that I’ve recently completed.  One of the perks of our studio membership is a critique with Pat Clark, the founder of our studio and our mentor.  She was the head of the art department at Long Beach State and also the director of the Idylewild Arts Institute so she knows her art, but her approach is always to tell you what she likes and to assist you in finding answers.  I told her I have reached a point where I’m not sure if I’m in a corner or if I’m in a direction.

The shower is complete as of today.  The glass doors are installed and tomorrow we can begin using it.  It’s 1/2” glass and nicer than anything I could have imagined.

It has a feature I hadn’t expected.  The door opens both in and outward.  I was waiting to install towels racks until I saw how the doors worked.  I figured if I put them on the wall by the shower that we wouldn’t be able to reach our towels once the door was opened.  So now that I know they’ll be fine there, I need to go buy some.

The mirror is new and replaces the old cheap one that was losing it’s silver.  The faucet still isn’t working.  Matt isn’t a plumber, he’s a tile setter.   A couple of weeks ago when he went to hook it up, realized that he didn’t have the right components.  The plumbing has been a pretty steep learning curve for him.  He says he learned a lot and he’ll be able to put it to good use when they start some remodeling on their house.  The area in that back corner is empty.  It’s where the former corner shower unit was installed.  Now that the pieces are all together I’m going to take myself shopping for a free-standing cabinet.  I’m hoping to find something that will hold linens since we don’t have a linen closet in this house.

Tomorrow is my guild holiday meeting because we don’t meet in December.  If you’re looking for a reliable and easy potluck dish, Google “the original pantry cole slaw” and you too can bring home and empty bowl.  The Original Pantry is a restaurant in downtown Los Angeles, and it’s still there.  I got the recipe from a Los Angeles Time recipe book that I bought in the early 1980s and still use.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Deadlines


Matt and I are both working on deadlines, his to finish the bathroom in October and me to be ready for the Guild Holiday Sale this coming Saturday.  While we were in SoCal he cut floor tiles into 2” squares and set them into the shower pan and painted the walls with a waterproof membrane to seal out moisture.  That large tile on the floor into 2” squares!  It boggles my mind and I’m sure it took all day to cut them on his ceramic saw and seat them.  If you look closely you’ll see he’s carved SFG into the mud in the middle of the shower lip, honoring his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants.  He says there are houses all over Bend with his special tribute.

I got the sunrise towels off the loom and got a little help from my studio assistant as I prepared to hem them.

Meanwhile, I got my order of Brassard 8/2 cotton, my part of a group buy that reduced the price to about $15 per pound.  You can’t beat that price but we only do it once a year and it’s hard to plan ahead.  I am no longer using the 8/2 cotton from UKI and unfortunately I have a lot of it.  I’m going to talk to a couple of the other weavers who are making this same move and see if they have any ideas how we can put it to use or who we can give it to.

I liked the Brassard medium blue so much I decided to wind another Fiesta(ware) warp.  I’ve converted to warping from the back but have gone back to winding it in six 3” bouts.  I’ve found that it preserves the color order and thread count.  And it also lets me move the bouts around if I discover that I don’t like the color order as planned, and in this case I did just that.  I had put the red and orange in the center and realized that I had a whole lot of green and blue together, so I moved it to the side and put the teal and yellow in the middle.

Matt came back on Saturday and got more tile installed.  He worked the entire day, from 9:00-6:30 to reach his stopping point, then called us back to ask us a question.

There was no question.  He had something to give us - these packets of candy.  I have hoped for years that they would have a baby and my wish will come true this April.  I cried.  They are still in process of telling everyone so mum is the word until after they make the announcement on Facebook, but I’m telling you because I know my family doesn’t read my weaving blog.  I have to tell someone!!  Another granddaughter - so excited!!!!!

I got the sunrise towels washed and pressed Saturday morning and my loom warped again that afternoon.

Here’s Matt, still working, and if he looks tired, that’s because he is.  He worked all day Saturday and then all day Sunday.

We had matinee theater tickets yesterday and went out to eat afterwards with another couple.  When we got home the shower was finished!  The grout has to set for three days and if we want to, we can buy a tension rod and shower curtain until the glass door is fabricated and installed. Since we still don’t have a sink in here, we’ve decided to continue using the upstairs bathroom.  It’s going to be another couple of weeks before Matt can get back to finish the sink.  It’s beautiful already!  This is his first total remodel using his own design and he’s really happy with the results as are we.

This morning I finished dressing my loom and have woven four towels and started the fifth.  I have several obligations this week but if I am careful, I can have all ten woven and hemmed for the show this Saturday.  This is my last sales opportunity this year and if I don’t have them at the show I can’t sell them.  That’s motivation!