Saturday, December 18, 2010

David puts up more lights

David raised the sheets of glass the plants sit on, using small blocks of wood, and strung lights underneath.  It's beautiful!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas at Annie's house

Annie's clever husband came up with a solution (years ago) to the problem of having both a Christmas tree and cats (not to mention no floor space either of us is willing to give up):  the tree goes on the mantle!  And this is no puny table tree, it's a full 55 inches high.  Clever, clever David!

Even with the back branches cut off there's plenty of room for lights

And ornaments.  Oh look!  It's the Christmas sperm!

Underneath the tree there is room for crystal lights

And little glass baubles among the crystals

And our blessed family, parents of us all.  They are Australopithecines (Australopithecus afarensis, I presume).  They serve as our nativity scene.  If I had some Pliocene fauna I could make a manger scene.

David and I are happily celebrating the start of the Christmas season with champagne and Annie's incredibly good chicken liver pâté.  It works like this -- David decorates the tree, and Annie blogs about it, which is a fair division of labor in Annie's opinion.  David is enjoying himself, but he's pretending not to. 

Soon it will be time for more traditions:  the annual reading of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (in the original thank you!), the annual watching of Alistair Sim as Scrooge, the annual overeating of pâté, clam dip and mincemeat cookies, accompanied with lashings of champagne and the annual complaining about fat tummies. Annie is dropping hints as heavy as bricks about what she wants, and David can't think of a thing he wants.  We will have dim sum in China Town with Andy, Peter and Bob, and Annie's friend Pam and her husband will come for a late Christmas at New Years.  I am happy.

Meanwhile there is sewing.  I positively yearned for a project that I could get through without a lot of hassle, before I go back to the 49er jacket, and I have hit upon this (Butterick 4928):

No fitting issues!!! I'm using a lovely olive green wool with a subtle diagonal stripe (from Nancy's Sewing Basket), and I'm going to try a flannel backed lining to make it very warm.  Might be too heavy though.  I spent some hours on it this morning, but while helping David put up the tree I got sap all over my hands and I can't get it off.  And I'm not touching fabric until it is off.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Update on EWW

I had been thinking I should have chosen Edith's initials more carefully, until I started to work on her insides.  EEEEWWW!

First, taking the thingy off that holds the bobbin in place.  This is held in with a screw, so bobbin changing isn't done in a snap.  It took quite some work to work it free.

Yay, the bobbin fell out!  Also lots of crud.

Inside the bobbin case the metal was bright and shiny as if it were brand new.  Lots more crud up in there too, though.

And then I took hold of a bit of fluff, and pulled, and pulled, and pulled... Damn!  A spider egg case!  Well, I guess that's really appropriate, isn't it?  Edith sheltering another lady fiber worker. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's all this crap?

View of the backyard:

And the front yard:

Hmmm, I wonder who should have to go out and shovel it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Edith Wheeler Wilson

Edith Wheeler Wilson is my brand-new old sewing machine!  She is the result of my very first Ebay bid, and I just picked her up this morning.  Here are some pictures so you can see what a beauty she is!

Edith (herself)  Not a particularly good picture, but you can see she's a W-9.  This means she was made sometime between 1890 and 1904 or 5.

The coffin top.  The machine doesn't swing down inside; it's covered by this "coffin," which locks to keep the children out.

The cabinet.  As you can see, part of one drawer is missing, and unfortunately it's the front piece.

The manual.  What can I say, I'm lucky the manual still exists after 110 years.  I'm not going to quibble that it's in a billion pieces.  Besides, I'm a librarian, I'm used to putting things back together again.

The extra treats.  These include some attachments, needles, bobbins, and a key to lock all the drawers and the coffin.  I'll take pictures of the attachments later when I figure out what they are.  But there were also two extra special treats -- a tiny advertising envelope and a tiny book, pictured here with the obligatory quarter for comparison purposes.  They are both from Louisville, Kentucky.

I have a lot of work ahead of me.  I want to restore her to beauty and functionality, rather than preserve her dusty antique integrity.  So everything will have to come apart for a good clean and oiling.  Maybe some paint on treadle and legs, and the wood will have to be refinished.  Then I will put on a new belt and put her back in use!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another day at the Zoo!

Someone (and he knows who he is) has been making remarks that this seems to be becoming a zoo blog rather than a sewing blog.  Well, it's my bloody buggery blog and I shall do as I like.  It was an amazingly beautiful fall day at Point Defiance today, and the visitors were almost all adults, which made it very peaceful.  Best of all it was feeding time for the cats, which meant that the clouded leopard cubs finally came down from their aerial perch.

Here's a view of the entrance, with Commencement Bay out behind.

The clouded leopard cubs are very young (born the middle of July) and until today all I had seen of them were their thick furry tails hanging down from their roost at the top of the enclosure.  But dinner is worth coming down for!  First Nah Fun, the boy (I'm guessing), gets scooped up around his wiry middle and put in a wooden box.  Then Chai Li, the girl, is put on top of the box to eat her supper.  When she's done Nah Fun gets to come out of the box and have his.  They look kind of reptilian, don't they? I've always thought there was something kind of snaky about cats.

The tiger cubs are a couple of months older, and they are as round and chubby as the cloudeds are sleek.  Here is Bima, the boy, first posing for pictures, then heading off to get his supper.  (I can tell this is Bima as his face markings are very different from his sister's.)

And here's Raya and her daughter, Mali.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Art at Oregon Zoo

We made a quick trip to Portland for book shopping and a visit to the zoo.  Here's some Oregon zoo art:

We do love our salmon!

Doesn't this look real?  It's actually a salmon sculpture.

And so are these:

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Boiled wool jacket

My jacket is progressing very nicely, though slowly.  Because the fabric is so thick, each piece had to be cut out separately.  Then each edge had to be trimmed down to size and the overlap for each seam marked in chalk before it could be sewn.  This morning it took all the way through Tchaikovsky's Serenade for Strings, Dvorak's Serenade for Strings, and halfway through Beethoven's Fourth, which is a wonk of time, and which brings us here [these are just interim photos, mind]:

The color in the pictures above is really washed out.  Actually it's a lovely blue-ish brown, like this:

This is a way cool button Sis gave me for my birthday (the national holiday we all celebrated last week).  I'm thinking about using it on the boiled wool jacket.  Or maybe not, it may need buttons all the way down the front.  She also gave me this really useful needle cushion.  I can hardly wait to stick something in it!

So that's where we are at the moment.  Tomorrow I'll do the sleeves, collar and pockets, plus any fiddly bits that need taking care.  I am really pleased with it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It's National Sewing Month!

And I'm sewing again!  Sis and I have challenged each other to sew every day of September.  Except (for her) when off on fabulous vacations, and (for me) when celebrating a birthday.  This morning I cut out the muslin for a boiled wool jacket, using this pattern:

The fabric is a lovely dark brown boiled wool I bought from Emma One Sock last year.

After that I'm going to make myself a 49er jacket.  (I am myself a 49er so I especially deserve one.)  Over the summer I picked up a 1948 pattern that will be just perfect once I've graded it to my size.  For the fabric, I'm going to use a brown and cream Pendleton plaid I bought in Portland last year.  And I have a lovely dark brown wool for a skirt to go with it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Art at Woodland Park Zoo

Actually, it was a very cool dark rainy morning, so I didn't take a lot of pictures.

Carousel bear

Which way?


Snow leopard

An odd visitor to the penguins

And this one from last June, on an entirely different sort of day:

Art at Point Defiance Zoo

In other words, no sewing.  I'm so tired of summer and it's too warm to sew wool.

Very scary!

Very peaceful
Handsome Monkey King!

Now we are off to Woodland Park Zoo!