Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Whole Lot of Not Much

As mentioned in the previous post the summer heat has finally arrived, although people in many parts of the country would consider it cool. We almost reached 90 on Friday and yesterday was a balmy 85. For me,anything over 70 is hot and I really slow down over 80.

The kitchen painting plan is taking shape. Next week Gene will take the knobs and handles off. One day everything will get a good scrub, the next a light roughing up and then I start in earnest on the actual painting. Colors have been picked and brushes purchased. There won't be a whole lot of cooking going on and plenty of simple sandwiches consumed for the duration. I will be grumpy, it is a given. Everyone is getting prepared except Robin, who has no clue that the center of the universe will no longer be him and his furry cohorts large and small. Jack is just happy the suitcase hasn't appeared.

We all had some fun this week though. I did some sewing and a little weaving, lots of play time with the dogs, some riding and some shopping. Gene is away camping and paragliding in CA while I hold down the fort, almost as well as he does for me in the spring.

A Simplicity shirt pattern was morphed from something just plain ill fitting on the muslin

to almost perfection.

I know the working muslin is black and hard to see. The shoulders were too wide, the empire waist no where near where it should be but hanging down almost at my natural waist after I added an inch unwisely. It looked like it needed it on the initial pattern fitting.... The sleeves channeling an outfit on Dallas (Oh god, why are they doing a remake of such an awful show), they were so tall and poofy. Changes made were to grade the pattern for my smaller shoulders. Adjust the sleeve cap width, put the Empire back in the empire waist by going with that bodice pattern piece as it was out of the envelope and add just a bit of length at the bottom of the shirt overall after adjusting the actual natural waist up to were it should be. This doesn't seem important but the flare of the bias cut lower portion wouldn't flare in the right place without doing this front and back. I love this style and wanted to make it work and did.

Not only do I have a great fitting shirt, I also have a sense of accomplishment since there were a lot of adjustments and I made them confidently...more or less. ;)

Stella spends her days looking beautiful and regal.

Robin spends them torturing Stella.

It makes everyone else happy that she is usually "It".

Parting shot: Zebra....headless of course.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

High Summer

It's almost a state of mind rather than just a point on the calendar. For us this year it's late. For me it's marked by hot days starting to wane just slightly shorter, the wildflowers of spring giving way to the dryness and the wildlife. Oh yes, high summer is all about the wildlife. Fawns are big enough that you see them traveling with Mom, quite often little groups of moms. Everything is out and about with young; teaching, feeding, and preparing them in most cases, for fall abandonment. The sightings this summer have been plentiful. In a weeks time I have seen a grey fox on the property twice, coyotes, eagle, deer, skunk, raccoon, and once what I will swear was the hind end of a bobcat with it's short flicking tail leaving me with just a hint of the animal attached. I saw a Peregrine Falcon make off with a young ground squirrel snatched from the horse paddock while I was filling the water tank. Besides eye accounts there has been evidence of owls with their hard pellets filled with fur and bone. Dennett and Peter seem to be the finders on those but occasionally I am the scat discoverer. No bear, not this year so far and I'm not complaining. It's also time for me to start thinking about the kitchen painting project. Next week, handles and knobs and paraphernalia will all come off/out of the top shelves and cabinets of the kitchen, paint will be bought and brushes (all cheap because I hate cleaning oil paint off of brushes), painters tape and other such stuff as one needs for a hard week of tedious work. A bottle of scotch maybe...this might be the time to try again to acquire a taste for it? ;) For now though, the Red Stripe will grace the fridge for a late afternoon refresher.

Sewing will wind down, weaving pick up to get things off the looms. Gift warps are all planned, towels and such for the holidays and auction give-aways all taking place in the fall. The saddles will get dusty, the horses lazy and we will slip into mid August with a flourish of green and cream, speckled hair, splattered t-shirts and a fresh new look for the kitchen.

Parting shot: David & Goliath

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

For Every Rule an Exception

I just didn't have a great title for this post but it would seem this summer does have its exceptions to the typical "rules"! The first one being rain and lots of it. It poured yesterday, and Friday we got a gully washer of a thunder storm. That one brought a little fire up on Soda Mountain. While hard to get to, it lay down nicely after torching some trees and was contained to about a 1/4 to a 1/2 acre or so. Both Greensprings Fire & Rescue and ODF (Oregon Department of Forestry) were on it. The call went out around 8:30 pm and Gene was home sometime around 2:00am. The other exception has been the temps. We actually had to fire the outside boiler Rube up yesterday it was that cold and damp, in JULY! In the downpour I was out taking flymasks off wet grumpy horses.

The next rule, although not a hard and fast one, is pants should be a solid color. I know where this one comes from. Most people, myself included, when buying pieces for your wardrobe try to get the most mileage out of them. They have to go with other stuff, like shirts, jackets and sweaters, so I certainly fell into that rut when making clothes. Why can't I have patterned pants or jackets? I mean I can make what I want to match and am not left to the whims of the retail racks for either fabrics or style. Isn't that why I sew, or weave or knit? To make what I like? Of course it is!

So two beautiful Japanese fabrics came home with me last week, both patterned and both destined to be part of my fall wardrobe. I can't say enough about the beautiful quality of these fabrics, heavier than shirt weight and the cotton so fine, you would think they were a medium weight woven silk. I was smitten when I saw them last week (and a half a dozen other patterns too) at Fabric of Vision. And look, some beautiful shirt weight fabrics were in house and just begging to be tops for these lovely prints. The caramel is a soft woven and almost brushed silk, the other a nice weight cotton.
Even the spools of sewing thread look pretty together.

My folks have booked their much anticipated October visit and I'll be stepping out in style!

So, some sewing has gone on and a fair amount of riding still.

I had some company last Thursday to ride with and it was awfully fun to have an experienced rider to go out with and get two horses exercised instead of one in a day.

As an update, the fawn, sadly, did not make it. It stopped eating and the lovely folks who took it in decided it would be best to have it humanely euthanized.

There has been a lot of puppy attention too.

Both young and old have all had some quality time. Dennett has his highs and lows although truthfully, it's been mostly good these last couple of weeks. Every day is a much appreciated gift. Miss Bea has arthritis in her back and as she ages it has become more noticeable.

The damp cold weather we've had has not been comfortable for her, so each night before bed, she gets a nice and gentle neck and back massage and then I bundle her up in the blankets in a warm spot next to me. During the day I try to get her out for a walk too as it is helped by light consistent exercise. Jack, Pogo and Smoochie are taking Robin into their male circle, not without it's little upsets along the way, but he is fitting in nicely. Charlotte, as is her way, shows nothing but disdain for most of the dogs but Peter and Dennett.
Robin continues to change daily. My gosh puppyhood is such a rapid affair, if you blink, you miss something. I am trying not to blink. I will say he is one of the sweetest puppies I have ever been lucky enough to meet let alone have as a companion. He is a cuddler with a capitol C. No doubt about it, this pup is very people oriented but not obsessive. He's just as happy to play or sleep with Stella or Smoochie or both!

I even caught Bea cozied up to him, but if you want to reach down and pick him up and tuck him in with you, he will stay there as long as you want.

Parting Shot: The Flying Nun (Stella's ears did a similar thing at this age)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wrestle Me

Season Premiere!

Hard to say who the winner was. I'd call it a draw.

No animals were injured in this exchange although there was some fearsome growling and bad acting screams.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

July? Really???

This has got to be the coolest summer on record up here. Mt. Ashland STILL has her peak top of snow and average temps here at 4500ft elevation have been below
80 degrees during the day. Downright chilly at night. Gosh, if every summer was like this I might grow rather fond of the season, bugs and all. We had two hot days and even those weren't that bad. I have been taking full advantage and doing as much riding as I can. The cool mornings have been tailor made for some long hard good rides. The high meadows are bursting with wildflowers and everything is in bloom. The dogwoods were late coming in and late to drop their petals, so it is a riot of color amongst the trees and in the fields. Cooper and Dandy tell me the grass is making for some pretty good trail munching too. One day in late June we even had a 24 hour period of rain. Unbelievable! Fire season is in swing, but not with the usual dryness. We are at moderate risk, as compared to high or very high at this time of year.

The sewing goes on as does a little weaving, I'm inching along with the silk scarf and the wool overshot. Since the only thing that is changing is the amount of rolled
completed cloth, I haven't bothered with pictures.

I did test out a new pattern.

Since the fabric I want to use is costly, I took the leftover (and very cheap) linen/rayon Kelly green blend and did a true muslin.

No finish work, no interfacing, this piece was all about fit and adjustments. It's a simple cardigan pattern with a 60's vibe. Depending on fabric, I could be channeling Jackie O with this style and a little gussying up! A short, rather fluffy Jackie O. ;) For now, the simple cream wool blend should make a great wardrobe workhorse.

There is also a silk taffeta plaid vest in progress.

This one has been taking a lot of time.
I am finishing all the seams in a false french seam and after getting it together need to draft a large portrait collar with a black silk organza back. The front closure will get a zipper. Should be an interesting and fun piece when it's completed. It was a challenge matching the plaid but I did a pretty decent job I think.

The linen shirt is complete except for buttons.

Getting some I like is one of the items on today's list.

Robin continues to delight with his winsome little personality. He has a charming temperament. I can't say enough about both pups from this set of parents. Stella most certainly takes after her mother, and Robin, his father. They are so different yet both are exceptionally low key and sensible for Russell Terriers. The key word here is terriers, Robin, like his sister, shares a love for a good dig, a rousing game of tug and lots of serious rolling around in the dirt.

Parting shots: What once was clean is dirty ...again!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

All Sorts of Excitement

This summer really has been passing in a whirl of activity. The riding has been wonderful as has the weather. We've had all warm and no real hot stuff yet. I'm sure it's coming but for now, every morning needs a light sweater and the afternoon breezes have been refreshing.

So, let's get to the excitement. First off, on one of the Dennett and Peter crawls we were confronted with our resident skunk. I don't know if it's Bond who use to get into my barn, but likely, a relative. Out early Thursday and up the driveway towards us on his homeward journey I spied him before Peter and certainly before Dennett. Those leashes got snapped on collars faster than a crumb gets licked up off the kitchen floor. The skunk finally saw us and made for the culvert under our driveway. Whew! I dragged the boys back to the house because by then, all noses where in the air and on the scent.

Saturday night Gene woke me up with a bundle in his arms. A fawn, maybe a week old
but very small. It had curled up in the middle of Highway 66. He did a check of all it's legs and everything appeared fine and unbroken, but between it's instinct to play dead
and I think general weakness we couldn't assess it's true condition. A couple locally has taken in two over the years, one thrived, one died. We decided to put it back in the general vicinity of where it was found (NOT on the highway) Gene flagged it and the couple (who were in Jacksonville) were going to stop and check on it when they drove through on their way home. If it's Mom found it, great. If it was still there they were going to bring it home as they have all the equipment for raising it already on hand. Sunday morning found her with them, drinking lambs milk but still weak. The doe might have abandoned this one, could be a twin that wasn't thriving, could have been grazed by a car, no way of knowing but we will be hoping this little one makes it. I'll keep you all posted.

There has been some sewing going on.

Two shirts, one pair of pants all finished. I think I was misleading in my last post. The teal crossover T shirt is a winner, the wadder never made it in photos onto the web. NO WAY was that going to grace even this modest little blog, it was that bad. I did make another crossover T since I liked the pattern so much. Here it is in a rayon and lycra knit.

Not my favorite fabric but I loved the color and it was good to expand my skills sewing this. I was emboldened enough to pick up a beautiful spring green sweater type knit in rayon for making a light weight cardigan

and some double knit cotton for another T shirt.

I mean who can resist those skulls!
I finally got around to embroidering some fabric for use. Here is the little design done on the back yoke of a new blouse pattern I am testing out.

The fabric is linen but not of a great quality. It was dirt cheap at Joann's and I figured why not, good way to test both pattern and embroidery machine and might even get a wearable garment out of the deal.

Robin finally is doing better with the digestive upsets.

The addition of a probiotic to his diet has made an amazing difference. I was skeptical I will admit it, but not any more. Probiotics have been in my equine vitamins for years
and I keep a couple of tubes of them on hand for them so I am scratching my head as to why I wouldn't have thought of them for the house critters.
The turnaround was almost miracle like. For anyone who is interested, the product is a FortiFlora made by Purina and there are formulas for both dogs and cats.
Otherwise, he is growing by leaps and bounds and showing off what a sweet mellow puppy he is. Robin is low key, he plays hard but likes cuddling best.

Stella was a busy puppy, Robin is but not in the same way. He is bolder but less curious about getting into mischief. He is also turning into a good little afternoon napper. We've been practicing together. ;)

Parting shot: Extra curricular snoozing with Peter (who never would have tolerated Stella doing this).