Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Sewing, Weaving, Weather and Wildlife

I'm hitting all the bases here! Southern Oregon and Northern California, besides being in a drought, is also experiencing a heat wave. We are all moving slowly and doing hard work in the morning while it is still cool. Everything is making use of the shade in the hot afternoons and I have been hiding out in the air conditioned bedroom sewing.

A fair amount has gotten done up there and all of it, hot weather sewing.  The Decades of Style "Given a Chance" dress is a delight to make.

 That little folded  and lined bodice just feels special and the whole thing takes about two hours from cut to closet.

 I drafted a sleeve for it using the armsythe and sleeve from the Grainline Studio Scout Tee, and we'll see how that works out. One is cut out for a try out in the next sewing round. It is a bit tricky with the bodice. As is I have been making this in cottons and linens they are comfortable and cool.

 There are also in seam pockets. What's not to love?

A couple of little Mississippi tunics also got done. Seems there is a flying theme in these.

 Birds of Paradise in one and if you look closely (biggify), bats in the other.

 In fact this fabric is titled "Bats in the Belfry". This has been the year of pinks for me and it is fitting this is designed by Tula Pink.

The Gem has seen a bit of action. I've finished up the 4 place mats and have headed into dresser scarf weaving. I chose a bright minty green for this and I am liking how the grey and green mix.

 I've probably gotten another 12 inches along since this pic was snapped. Overshot is not my strong suit for fast weaving.

Juno the cat tussled with I think Wynken the barn cat and got a bitten and infected paw out of the deal. A quick little surgery to open up the punctures, an overnight stay, some pain meds and antibiotics and bed rest and she is good to go outside today after her last dose of Clavamox.

And here is the other visitor to our bird feeders.

 I saw the deer trying to get into it the other day but it is just a little too high.

My Mother is doing great with her hip replacement recovery. Bending down is still hard but she is making excellent progress. We did breakfast out a couple of times last week. :-)

Another wave of record breaking heat is due just in time for the 4th of July.  We'll be hanging with the folks, having a simple selection of burgers, dogs and sides and lots of cold beer. Fingers crossed that we do not get thunderstorms and Gene can actually relax and enjoy the day.

Parting shots: Queen of the Serengeti (barn cat Wynken), surveying her domain.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Foxy 2015

About once a season I am blessed with a great opportunity to snap some pics of our favorite wildlife visitor, the Grey Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus). This time of year the nocturnal and crepuscular animals are out and about foraging for food for the ever growing youngsters. Skunks, raccoons, deer
and of course, my much enjoyed foxes are all making appearances day and night.

Here are some of the results of this years photo shoot. The fox was watching me refill the feeder across from the deck. They love sunflower seeds and it is a good source of fat for much of the wildlife, not just the birds. Anyway, in full view of my little friend I took a handful of seed and dropped it on the ground and moved off to the next feeder down by the wood boiler Rube. When I turned to head back, she was at the seed. I had to walk by her to get back into the house. I was on one side of the driveway, she/he on the other, not more than 10 feet away. I was able to grab my phone on the deck railing and went to work. She stayed there for at least 30 minutes and sampled the seed I left out for the Stellar Jays too. Enjoy!

Friday, June 19, 2015


Which is exactly what my Mother's hip did last Saturday morning. This post could have just as easily been titled OUCH!. It earned her a quick ride in an ambulance, two days of what appeared to be excellent drugs and a new hip. They sprung her on Wednesday looking pretty good and surprisingly mobile and pain free after replacing the hip Monday afternoon. Oh she'll have lots of physical therapy but it is amazing how quickly one gets back on their feet.

As things calm down we'll get back into some house projects. I'll be painting some of the satellite areas, kitchen, studio and upper hallway during the summer. Gene will do the high walls and stairwell so I am told. We'll see. Fire season is in full swing. We have had beautiful weather up here, mid to high 70's during the day and cooling down into the 40's at night. but it is dry with no rain predicted.
The summer patterns has arrived.

Last Saturday also found me breaking down Big Sal for her move at the end of summer. Before

 and after.

The Gilmore Gem is in the back room now and the difference in available space is certainly

The sewing room had seen some action with some new patterns and an old favorite thrown in for good measure. This linen gauze didn't want a lot of manipulation, just something simple and easy, so it became Grainline Studio Scout Tee

with just a little embellishment.

Decades of Style has come out with a couple of cute easy patterns. I decided to try the Given A Chance dress and it was a fun make.

The origami front yoke was a lot of fun and the drafting, as in all Decades of Style patterns, is very good as are directions.

 No adjustments needed with this one at all. I did not do the arm facings opting instead to do bias binding. The seersucker and voile are a perfect cool summer combination.

A cute linen Mississippi Ave dress/tunic was completed

 as was a cotton Liesl & Co newish Gallery tunic and dress pattern.

 I am not a collar fan and dislike anything high and tight on my neck. The neck on this was very high so I trimmed it way down and finished with self bias binding instead of a collar and stand and am MUCH happier. Both the Liesl & Co and Decades of Style patterns will be made again. Nice patterns both of them.

Outside the garden is thriving and we've have had a couple of visitors to the garden in the early mornings. I snapped this pic of one of them making good his escape once discovered.

It goes without saying I used the zoom feature on my phone. ;-)

And an last minute addition because everyone needs a good laugh.
Dogs getting pranked!

Parting shot: R & R

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Right Tools Make All the Difference

That statement applies to just about everything, be it work or hobby. A tool can work for you or it can work against you. And so we come to a tale of two ladders. Actually we have a lot of ladders, tall ones, short ones, extensions right down to a lowly step stool and they all serve a purpose. For painting, any old ladder just won't do!

 My parents gave me the ladder on the left and it's wide steps are comfortable on the feet, the platform is sturdy enough to hold stuff or stand on, lightweight, folds for storage and it is a great height for getting to most shelves and cabinets. It is a super ladder for using to stock, rearrange, clean out etc. It is not a good painting ladder. The shelf is too low and narrow for a paint bucket, it has no place for brushes or rollers or to hang a rag for that matter. A ladder for painting has some pretty specific features, holes for different sized brushes and handles, a hook for hanging gallon cans and also a tray large enough to hold a 5gal bucket, which is what most painters use when they work.

 I've said it before, and I'll say it again, those trays they sell for painting stink. They hold very little paint, which means it thickens too fast, they are awkward to move around and they just don't distribute the paint well on the roller. The industry does a great disservice by even selling those things. A 5 gal bucket, a roller screen and a good roller with appropriate sleeve and you are good to go.

 Plus the buckets have airtight lids and won't rust and handles. Color Paternoster has been applied to the foyer and this weekend I'll tackle the trim. It was nice to refresh that space.
Oh and the painting contractor, MIA and not returning calls...GRRRRRR.

The anniversary dinner was a fun time and Anniversary #58 has been dubbed the year of the sock.
We ate out on the rooftop deck and even had a quick hummingbird visit!

Both parents got a couple of pairs of silly and fun socks. Obviously Gene and I will be thinking hard on what #59 should be.....

There has been fun up in the sewing salon. Two Mississippi is done and been paired with some cream twill skinny jeans.

 Now you know these won't get past the season, white never does. It will only take one good swipe from one of these monsters to do the pair in. Diggers gotta dig.

It is the way of things.

I pulled a lot of curated summer fabrics and went on a  cutting frenzy, fueled by unseasonably warm temps. A few new patterns thrown in too for good measure.

This is one of them, the fabrics are a seersucker and a voile. I am using some leftover lightweight linen (polka dot), for the bodice lining. Another Mississippi Ave dress has been cut in linen. I can't get enough of this pattern and will do a few more (shorter tunic length) since I think they will wear well in cooler seasons under things as a cami.

Weaving on the deck has been fun, but then the really hot weather set in and I rolled the Gem back into the studio. This weekend we are breaking down the AVL. Gene has volunteered to help. That will make some room and the Gem can go into that beautiful space for the summer and make use of the shady back deck as we wish.

We have moved on from orange to yellow for the 4 placemats, 2 of each.

Then it's onto runners/dresser scarves. I love the way the grey is making the colors pop.

We had thunder storms yesterday and already there is a forest fire in a wilderness portion of the monument, which means BLM makes the judgement call on how it is handled, if at all. ODF did get permission to fly some water tankers over and drop but no vehicles or boots on the ground at this point.

Parting shots: Wrestling!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

A Very Special Day Indeed!

June 4, 2015 marks my parents 58th wedding anniversary. You know, after the 50th even Hallmark doesn't have an answer for what the traditional gift is for the 58th, so we kind of did our own thing.
Tonight we'll have a nice celebration at The Loft, open a few silly gifts, toast and just enjoy that not only do I still have both parents, but I have them right here, 45 minutes away. Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, I love you both very much!

Last weekend Gene and I were like little house elves. Busy working on this and that. I worked in the garden and annoyed the wildlife.

 He installed a much requested front screen door. It's not a terribly expensive one, gotten at Lowes or Home Depot for about $100.

 The fit and finish of these doors isn't what it use to be, but it closes securely, has a heavy duty mesh and grill on the lower portion for dog activity and allows for some much needed air flow from front to back through the house.

The Gem is in use. In fact it is in use downstairs.

We brought it down so that, weather permitting it would be an easy roll right out the door onto either of the decks. For moving it to the front deck I don't even have to fold it up, it just fits through the larger 36" front door.

 Of course the moment we brought it down the weather changed and it was too cold, wet and damp to want to do anything outside but be happy that there was moisture. Doesn't matter though, they are calling fire season officially this Friday, about a month early.

The pattern on the Gem is an overshot and because I am using a very heavy weft, is a bit distorted as to proportion.

 That's fine with me, I find the pattern interesting and pretty either way. I'll do two placemats in this orange color way and two in a bright yellow I think and then hopefully get 2 runners out of the warp. A short yellow one for the bathroom dresser and a grey and green one for my dresser upstairs, beyond that it's all gravy. It bears repeating, Gilmore Looms customer service is second to none! I knew when I bought the Gem new last year that I wanted to add a few things. Last week I ordered a 10 dent reed, an extra 200 heddles and a front cloth tray. The items came to me well packed within 5 days. I was kind of scratching my head on the tray installation, but a quick phone call and Bob's patient instruction on the other end got me through.

It was a total head slap moment if you want to know the truth. Bob might be getting a chuckle out it too. Anyway, Judy and Bob Allen's customer service and products are excellent regardless of whether you have a new loom or have picked up a vintage Gilmore and need to restore it.

In the salon of sewing machines, things have been kind of quiet. One Mississippi is done,

Two Mississippi is in process and that's about it. I'm hoping to get in there this weekend for some sewing time.

Charlotte had a trip to the vet Monday. Her back is bothering her and we are trying to find a combination of meds to give her some relief and not damage her kidneys.

 Right now we have her on Tramadol and a kidney function diet because at 17 they are beginning to show some wear and tear. You all know if you've followed this blog that the high teens are challenging. At this point everything is pretty much about quality of life, which is not to say we aren't planning on a few more good years!

Parting shots: The Young and the Restless