Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sign of spring

Kitchen garden: Cilantro grows and basil sprouts in the sun streaming through the slider.
Broccoli sprouts have an extremely unpleasant smell when they are fresh and green in the jar in the sun.  Which is why I ended out throwing mine out instead of using them in a salad. Broccoli sprouts seemed like the perfect winter fresh homegrown vegetable, but the warm cabbage smell is unappealing--more like vegetables gone bad than something I would want to eat. I probably should have put them in the refrigerator instead of the compost.  I don't have this problem when I mix a little broccoli in with the spicy alfafa mix, so I think that will be my plan from now on.
Fresh off the loom:  I took these off the loom last night.  They need to be finished and sent through the wash.

Things are growing and sprouting here and the song of spring is in the air.  The birds are singing cheerily--cardinal calls, house finches and more in a choral tribute to the rising sun. It is beautiful and refreshing and a sign of spring. I plan to walk in the woods today to see if I can hear the red-winged blackbird.  They are the true harbinger of spring, not the robin.  If you walk in the woods in winter you will find flocks of robins overwintering.  They don't all go as far south as one might suppose--at least some overwinter as far north as the Chicago.  We associate them with spring because we see them out on the lawn after worms when the ground is warm and they have chicks to feed.  Likely, unless you are farther north than the Chicago area, they may have spent the winter. I'm not sure how far north they will stay in winter, I just know I see them here.

Flab to Fluff Challenge:  Only seven pounds off since January 1, which really isn't bad because seven pounds is seven pounds. I did go out and shop the clearances for some clothes for my newer size (since last year I've lost about 20 pounds).  Sometimes, new clothes can slow you down, but not really. I can wear loose clothes, it is the tight ones I can't stand. My goal is to double the seven by April 1--a challenging goal without being overwhelming. Oddly, though fiber fairs approach, I'm not particularly interested in fleece right now. The weaving projects are keeping me engaged, plus my plans for this year don't really require another fleece, except maybe an alpaca and a Shetland or two. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Just fixin'

Just fixin' to make a necklace.
Just fixin', according to my sage friend Aileen Beene, is that sweet spot between doing nothing and something.  It's when you have the plans and materials to do something, but just haven't actually started to do anything. Photo above is a perfect example.  You can see all the materials for making a necklace, but no necklace. I'm "just fixin" to make one.  I have the materials, I'm mulling over the idea for a necklace, but nothings been started. Fact is, I've been just fixin' to make a lot of things.

I have pounds of alpaca waiting to be carded and spun because I'm just fixin' to make an alpaca throw.  I received some wonderful cottolin for the holidays, but the towels are in a deep stage of just fixin' because I haven't finished the towel already on that loom.  Well I'm just fixin' to finish them.

Aileen Beene will be proud of me when she discovers how I've mastered this particular stage of productivity. At first, I thought it was non-productivity  and I said so. I was quickly set straight in the midst of an Aileen Been hot flash and told that just fixin' is an important part of doing, like the first scene of  a play.
Almost done with this towel warp!

This inspired me because I figured I'd done my share of just fixin and was ready to move on to scene II and get some doing done. I wove a good foot or so on those tea towels that have been sitting on my loom..  You can see a detail above of the warp wound onto the back is down to the last wrap!  It is will be finished soon!  This is very exciting and I intent to complete the weaving tonight so I can get to just fixin' on those cottolin dish towels.  They will be gorgeous, cause I'm just fixin' to make them that way.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

When I want drama...

Aida-this little diva is ready for the title role!

When I want drama, I go to the opera--that's my mantra to those who trash people and stir things up. You've run into the trash talkers (or you are one in which case you'll get offended if I elaborate, but more on that later--see Bitchiest Loser below.) This aside, one of the advantages of being a craftsteader in the suburbs as opposed to a homesteader in the sticks are the perks of the big city, such as the Lyric Opera of Chicago.  Plus, I don't have to raise chickens. Okay, I could raise chickens but what would I do with all those eggs?  I'd be rolling out a lot of pasta since we don't use more than one or two eggs a week.

The cutie above is the work of LizChai a talented designer living in The Netherlands. She sent this to me and I've given Aida a place of honor in my curio cabinet. The little crocheted bear was kind enough to pose for the shot above.  So, if the Lyric decides to do a bear version of Verdi's work, she'll be ready to star.

Aida poses with bamboo singles.

Flab to Fluff Challenge is going well except I keep forgetting to weigh myself.  Yes, that's an odd situation for a dieter but you have to remember I'm a diet pro as this is my 853rd diet. The excitement of the weigh-in is pretty much gone.  But I'm pretty sure I've lost enough to purchase another alpaca fleece if I need for this surprise I'm making.  Yep, I should be spinning alpaca, not golden bamboo!

The Biggest Loser is a bust this season because of the  The Bitchiest Loser Conda. I'm not fond of whining, whiners or drama queens, so the season is a big zero for me and I'm not watching it anymore.  I'd never survive on the show because I'd have told her to shut the (expletive deleted) up and the red team of enablers would have taken the whiner's side. The red team is is currently stuck in the chaos phase of team building and by siding with Trash Mouth have turned into nasty bunch. Yep, when I want drama, I go to the opera.  When they open their mouths, it's beautiful.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Gardener in winter

Jasmine is better than scented candles.
Jasmine blooms in my living room--an exquisite scent steeped in mystery.  It also makes my eyes water and I may need an antihistamine--such is the life of the gardener in winter .  The lettuce is doing well, and so is the cilantro.  I need to plant some basil, though my frozen supply from last summer continues to flavor sauce.

While my plants have been busy growing, I've been busy in my workshop making things.  I've been on a bit of a beading spree. My jewelry wardrobe grows, so much so that I had to go shopping for outfits to go with it.  Metal smithing might slow me down, so I'm thinking of looking into a class at The TLD Design Center and Gallery in Westmont.  This would also expand my design options because right now, everything is pretty much straightforward. They also teach glass bead making, which would be a nice addition to my craft repertoire, and further slow me down.  An advanced class at my favorite bead store, Kasey's Beads in Naperville, would expand my design options. She's having a month-long string of sales on beads so I expect to do some shopping. The red carnelian/fire agate/clear quartz necklace includes some of the Czech glass beads she carries. She also had a great selection of quality findings, as well as natural semi-precious stone, spacers, crystals and other beading supplies.
Additions to my jewelry wardrobe.
Photo above was taken the old-fashioned way without a flash, a steady hand, a window and some judicious cropping. I took a lot of photos that way with a manual camera back when I was a newspaper reporter and digital cameras were an innovation. I vaguely recall the terminology now but I knew what speed and whatever to use. Film was a nice medium, but instant zillion mega-pixels is just too easy. I will need to go out and get myself that contraption people use to photograph and post on Etsy so the photos look better.