motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
During a previous Birthday Hike to Cape Disappointment, gorthx and I discovered... The Discovery Trail!  We decided to try it this year.  On bikes! Most of the trail is a flat, wide strip of pavement that goes through the dunes along the Washington coast - great for cruiser-style bikes. The first part of the trail was very hilly, not all paved, and COVERED WITH NEWTS - not the best combination for a 3-speed street bike. 

It was about 8 miles total, and I'd probably skip the first 1.25 miles of trail with the 300 feet of elevation unless I had a better bike. The trail starts in The Port of Ilwaco (still don't know how to pronounce that) which was small, but not so small it didn't have a knitting store!  There are several off-shoots on the path along the way with parking areas, so you can jump off and on the trail pretty easily. It winds through several different habitats - rainforest, swamp, dunes. There are also several art installations and placards that make this a fun trip for nerds, hello.

I checked the previous day and the weather didn't look that great, but the actual rain was supposed to stop around 11am, then just be cloudy. We got to the parking lot around noon and it was definitely still raining. We ate our usual Whole Food sandwiches in the car, bracing ourselves for the weather. As soon as we got all our rain gear on and bikes ready to go, it stopped raining.

Our main interest in the trail was seeing the giant whale skeleton.

Whale skeleton in Long Beach, WA

As you can see, the whale skeleton was not-so-giant. Apparently, it's been vandalized over the years. Thanks, people! 

The second main attraction was the carrot cake I had been feasting on for a few days prior to that. IT WAS DELICIOUS! I love carrot cake and I found a recipe in "My Two Souths" (combo of Indian and Southern American cuisines) that is amazing, with tons of cardamom and black pepper. I am already having a really hard time waiting to make it for my birthday again next year.

We got almost to the end of the trail - the last quarter of a mile was impassible due to two feet of water.

We turned around and rode back with a tailwind (yes!). The whole trip took about three hours, and as soon as we got back in the car, it started raining again. :)

motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)

7 Grandmasters - As usual, a slightly confusing plot. But that's not important! The fights! I think my favorite was the fight in the courtyard with the rack of weapons that was eventually empty. The master flipped a sword off his foot and caught it! That was some great choreography. As far as the plot goes, wikipedia does a pretty good job of explaining it.

motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Innovative Pattern Cutting - coursework at University of the Arts London

Draping the Art and Craftsmanship of Fashion Design - a book by two Dutch experts. Lots of pdfs of it online,  it seems.

Studio Faro - has, or used to have pattern challenges. The Vivienne is my favorite.

metric pattern cutting for Women's Wear - used to make basic blocks.


3 Mar 2017 06:46 pm
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)

I just saw 'Arrival'. I really liked it. It had me a little scared at points. And confused.  It was also more existential than I expected. I'm glad I didn't know anything going in.

However, my answer to the final question is a resounding, "Hell yes."
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
A couple of my friends independently let me know they wanted to see the monthly Kung Fu series at the Hollywood Theater. Yes, please!

Kung Fu sword fight!
Sabertooth Dragon vs. the Fiery Tiger was playing this week and it did indeed entertain. The (only known) 35mm print was a bit choppy, so there were puzzling gaps in the story. The puzzling gaps could also be due to my complete lack of cultural competence or the film's not-quite-translated-right dubbing.

The story starts with the king announced as dead and the successor being chosen from the king's will. In a surprise move, the 4th prince, instead of the 14th, is named the new king. The other princes object. The new king tries to kill his family. Chaos ensues. There's a dalai lama in gold lamé with a flying guillotine army. The palace is booby trapped pretty spectacularly. The cheongsams and hanfus (?) were gorgeous from what I could see in the faded film print.

The two stand-outs for me:
The king, who turns out to be a jerk of course, with many trying to overthrow and kill him, loves wine, women, and song. The first time he got busy with a lady, a guard rushed into the bed chamber and shouted, "YOUR MAJESTY!" and I thought, "Great, what kind of attack is coming now!" and the guard continued with, "DON'T OVERDO IT!" And this happened every. single. time. And the king just kind of smirked and kept going. ???

The head guard got drunk and said some things in the king's presence that he probably shouldn't have, which resulted in the king kind of banishing him. I think. And when the guard, in some distress, is reflecting back on what may have happened to cause this, before plucking his own eyeballs out, says, "I've never betrayed the king! Well... maybe once."

Again, this could be a cultural thing or the translation not quite conveying the actual situation.

Two thumbs up!

motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)

I "finished" this apron in January, but then had to go back and re-adjust the front so it didn't gap. I took in a 1" dart at the top of the sweetheart neckline and strap join.

The pattern is a mail-order pattern from... the 40s? There were several mail order services that provided patterns from the same company, possibly called Reader Mail. This particular one was from a magazine called Hoard's Dairyman and is 2299.

The fabric is from one old curtain (late 60s, early 70s) acquired from home over the holidays. I love the fabric. The trim is pretty darling, too. I now have all the curtains and am plotting what to do next. I'm thinking "quilt".

I lengthened this by 3" because I need more coverage. It's still too short. Have you ever gotten peanut butter on your knees?

I modified the shoulder straps to instead go around my neck. After having an apron with crossed straps, and straight straps, around the neck is most convenient for me. The shoulder straps needed an additional 4" (!) taken out of the back.

If I made this again, I would probably fully line it, ie make two aprons, sew them together like a pillow case, and turn right side out, instead of hand sewing all that binding around ALL THE EDGES.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
“Oh, the comfort, the inexpressible comfort of feeling safe with a person; having neither to weigh thoughts nor measure words, but to pour them all out, just as they are, chaff and grain together, knowing that a faithful hand will take and sift them, keep what is worth keeping, and then, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” - Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Apparently, my journal is going to become a recipe repository.

Holiday Soy Nog from the "Pass the Peace Holiday Recipes" magazine from *Nature's*

1 cup peeled & cubed butternut squash or sweet potatoes (cooked whatever way you want, they say steam for 20 min, I like roasted)
2 c vanilla soy milk (clearly, a substitution is fine - I use cashew milk)
3 T brown rice syrup or barley malt syrup (I used 3 dates - soak first!)
1 t nutmeg
1 t vanilla
4 T mirin or 2T rum (optional (optional, really?))

Blend everything and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
This is an amazing bean soup I cobbled together from three different recipes of Mark Bittman (I highly recommend How to Cook Everything)

Things you need:
5 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 teaspoons crushed garlic (about 4 cloves, and no, Mom, you cannot substitute garlic powder, ew!)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or thyme, depending on what kind of beans you use, rosemary goes REALLY well with white canellini beans
3 cups drained cooked beans, this tastes really great with 10-bean soup mix
2 cups cored, peeled, seeded, and diced tomatoes (canned are fine: include their juice)
4 to 8 cups vegetable broth (Imagine has no sugar added, and is my brand of choice)
2 carrots, peeled and cut in whatever shape you'd like in your soup
1 medium parsnip, PEELED (believe me folks, you do not want to try to eat these unpeeled) and cut up (the parsnip sweetness nicely balances out the acid of the tomatoes)
1 potato, sweet and/or Yukon Gold (or other non-baking potato potato)
1 celery stalk, cut up
1 bunch kale, stems removed and roughly chopped
The ability not to catch the kitchen on fire

1. Heat 4 T oil in soup pot over medium heat. After a minute, add onion, half the garlic, and the salt. Cook until onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2. Add the rosemary or thyme, beans, tomatoes, and all vegetables except the kale, and cook, stirring and mashing the tomatoes with your spoon, until the mixture is warm and the tomatoes begin to break down, about 10 minutes.

3. Add the 4 to 8 cups of stock (it should just cover the vegetables). Raise heat to med-high and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to med-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Test vegetables for done-ness, figure out how much longer to cook them, and five minutes before they are done, stir in the remaining garlic, 1 Tablespoon olive oil, and kale. Sometimes I stir in the kale after the soup is done to minimize how much it is cooked to avoid turning it into slime.

5. Is the kitchen on fire? No? Good job! Eat your soup.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Amd the answer is "no, I can't write two posts in under 1/2 hour."

I saw SUUNS live and made a dork of myself at the merch table with one of the band members and bought vinyl. I can't stop listening to the SUUNS and Jerusalem In My Heart album. Speaking of vinyl, I got a cheap thrift store receiver and finally hooked up my sister's turntable. I blasted myself with old records and may have made my neighbor laugh while I belted out "Movin' Right Along" courtesy Kermit and Fozzie.

I worked on my album and got everything edited.

I went through a few weeks of My Harp Mastery and discovered "30 Days to Done", which helped my fine-tune my practice schedules.

I played a wedding outdoors on a campground at the coast and it was wonderful. I got to play some Battlestar Galactica music for it!

I read "Unbroken" (despite writing it in my Christmas letter as "Broken") by Laura Hillenbrand. It was terrifying and hopeful. And read by Edward Herrmann, RIP.

I really liked "Darker Shade of Magic" by V.E. Schwab. The coat that you can take off and fold and turn inside out to turn it into a different coat folded and turned my mind inside out.

Watching Jessica Jones, Grantchester, Luke Cage, and Westworld with friends has been a balm for my soul. I've also been watching the crap out of "The Mighty Boosh".

Seeing Lawrence of Arabia in 70mm was... wow, just wow. At the same theater, I saw Metropolis (1927) with live organ music.

My mom is recovering from her stroke. I trained for the next higher job classification. We did a TSD rally again. I made lost of socks.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)
Can I write a end-of-year AND monthly summary in under a half an hour? I've already been online way too long this am.

Tried to get glasses. Made the mistake of going to Lenscrafters. I'm closer to figuring out what kind of glasses I really need, though.

Finished my Christmas letter on time. Finished all Christmas presents on time. It was so wonderful to make things for people this year.

Donated to MJFF - they are making great strides in finding a cure to Parkinson's.

Hamstring is continuing to heal.

Out of my control, but thoroughly enjoyed the two snow days we had. I made a conscious effort to enjoy them and did - not a usual thing for me. Work being closed for those days also helped to finish Xmas gifts.

Finished a pair of pants I may not be able to sit down in.

Got my pedal felts changed in prep for recording.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
The new camera I got has a ton of features, many of which I have no idea how to use, because I don't really know how photography works. F-stop stands for aperture? Whuuut.

So I decided to try a weekly tutorial of sorts where I am going through the manual and using each section to play with my camera.

It has an "Aperture" setting. I am still confused. So I'm going to throw up some photos here with the settings and maybe come back to it next week.

f1.8 1/30 ISO 320                                                  f/11.0 1/8 ISO 3200

A larger aperture (1.8) will make the foreground things sharp and background fuzzy. Is there a mathy diagram that explains this?

f/4.9 0.5" ISO 3200                                              f/11 0.8" ISO 3200

A larger aperture will let more light in, but a smaller aperture gives you diffraction spikes around lights. Again, confused as the smaller aperture seemed to produce a more "starry" effect. Also, I was shuddering because I was cold and the photos are blurry.

And then one picture because despite being freezing cold, I wanted to stay out side and take night photos of the sky because I could. The old camera, not so much.

f/4.9 0.8" ISO3200
And why do some photo settings have inches and other have fractions?  ETA! I found out the fractions and "inches" are the shutter speed.  The shutter speed is shown as fractions from 2000 up to 3 (ie 1/2000 to 1/3), then switch over to decimals where the ' " ' indicates 'seconds'. So the shutter speed was different in all the photos and was adjusted automatically by the camera.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I'm swinging wildly back and forth between liking and cringing at what we've managed to record for my album so far.  Right now I'm in the "sounds good" camp, so yay!

I found two music websites that are particularly helpful.  For harp, I discovered Harp Mastery by Anne Sullivan. She sends out very practical tips to improve your playing and technique and thought-provoking ideas for improving your musicality. Maybe not for harpists only? The other website is fiddlehed which is super organized into beginning, intermediate and advanced course outlines. He has a ton of videos, the most helpful of which are how to practice. I know how to practice the harp, but fiddle is completely different.  Both are enthusiastically, yet gently encouraging.

I found Girl Band, a band that hails from Ireland, has no girls in it, and do cool harmonics on the bass. A strong indicator of how much I like them is I thought they were good enough to buy their album. I also couldn't stop listening to Missy Elliot's album preview "WTF". I'm so glad she's back.  Both should be listened to super loud.

My two favorite books of 2015 were ‘Station Eleven’ by Emily St. John  Mendel and ‘Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ by Susanna Clarke. ‘Station Eleven’ is a post-apocalyptic tale of a frightening pandemic, a traveling symphony, and Shakespeare. Mendel deftly weaves a small group of people together back and forth through time in a brilliant and beautiful way. I didn't want this one to end.

'Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell’ is a hefty tome, anonymously and wittily narrated, and starts in the mid-1800s with two characters attempting to answer the question: “Why is there is no magic in England anymore?” It would not be out of place as a serial story told in monthly installments in a Victorian magazine. I was content to come along for a leisurely and delightful ride - then it got really thrilling.  And it has fantastic footnotes.

Mad Max: Fury Road - I loved this so much I don't even really know what to say about it. What We Do In the Shadows was hilarious and I can't wait for the werewolves (not swearwolves!) sequel. The two movies that surprised me were Trainwreck and Magic Mike XXL. Trainwreck had way more substance than I expected. I laughed, I cried. Despite that most of what was in the trailer was not in the movie. XXL was way more feminist than I expected and I really appreciated that.

ETA: Eep! I forgot I saw Girl Walks Home Alone At Night - it's one of the best vampire films I've seen in addition to WWDitS and Only Lovers Left Alive. And Love at First Bite.

The Blood Eclipse Moon was magical, the Pacific Ocean was dizzyingly cold, and the TSD Road Rally was tiring but sensational.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)

The sweater is done! The stand-in sweater was promptly stuffed in the donation box! I really want to knit something on big needles with no cables now! And I have a new camera that takes pictures in which you can see stitch definition!

If you are on ravelry, you can see more of it here.

It's a pattern from the first of Vogue Knitting's vintage reprint books "Knitting in Vogue" called Round-Necked Cable Cardigan from 1951.  After an arduous search for a heathered light blue yarn (why is light blue so rarely a heather-y color?), I settled on Jamieson's Double Knitting in Sky Blue and for the trim used Prussian Blue. I went down one needle size on both the ribbing and body.

This is the second time I've made this sweater - the first one wore out, and I liked it so much and it went with so many things already in my wardrobe, that I had to make it again.  The first one was on even smaller needles. Maybe by the time this one wears out, I'll be able to find yarn with the correct gauge. And I'll be 63.

And my knitting basket is almost empty for the first time in probably a decade! I just need to mend some gloves and then it will be truly empty!*

* I think I'm using the exclamation points to make up for not getting the same sense of relief as after I finished my replacement brown cardigan.

Footnote: My hair (which you can't really see) is in a "messy bun" based on instructions in the Babes In Hairland book.  It's really easy, however the style in the book is for shorter hair.  I used almost the entire box of bobby pins.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I am still working on the muslin for a dress to play the harp in.  My excuse for not being done with that, and the final dress, and have already purchased shoes to go with it (and a whole other host of harp-related things), is how unbelievably hot it was this summer, but it's more a combination of that and minimal internal encouragement.  So much so that I've been repeating one of my favorite quotes while sewing this morning more than usual: "There are no experimental failures - there's only more data." -Bryce Lynch in Max Headroom. It has kept me sewing this morning. Seriously.

The muslin doesn't fit and look exactly like I want, but I'm unable to adjust it further because I have no seam allowance left, and I started with 1" SA!

I also read through my Deconstructed Dress post to see if I wanted to add any stabilizers.  The type of stabilizing on that dress won't work with a dress that's underlined.

Off to collect more data!
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
This is a quote from an All Songs Considered podcast with Sylvan Esso talking about why they listen to music that sounds nothing like the music they make, and pretty much nails why I listen to so much music. And the quote was too long for twitter.

"It's a record that's just so perfectly representative of the artist that made it, and it feels like such a pure missive or expression from that person and it doesn't sound like anybody else could make it. My favorite part about records like that ... is that they don't make you want to make music like that, what they make you want to do is make an even better record that sounds like you." ~Nick Sanborn
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
Yesterday, since it was cool, I did a bunch of hot stuff:

- made zucchini chips, tomato chewies, roasted sweet potatoes in the oven
- dyed two sweaters on the stovetop with dye that I managed to order so it arrived yesterday, the one cool day this summer
- laundry
- harp
- fiddle
- rode my bike to leather store to get suede to make slipper soles to turn felted wool socks with holes in the soles into slippers
- went to fabric store to replace leather needles and get buttons for one of the sweaters.
- Cut and sewed the leather, punched holes around the edge, and crocheted around the soles of the slippers

The amount of stuff in my knitting basket is now level with the top as opposed to a foot above it.

And this sweater came out great!

On the list for today is buy new camera! So I can stop having to use my ipod!

As well as get motivated to rewire my headphones so I can move forward with critial listening and editing of harp music and maybe not be depressed about that anymore.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
I've got the muslin for my harp dress more or less all pinned up.
So far:
- I've had to adjust the shoulders to be more square (no surprise)

- I put darts in the back V neck because my back is so flat.

- the skirt is hard to draft - is it a-line? is it straight? how are the darts folded?

- I don't think I have enough fabric in the skirt - it's maybe not as full as I'd like? I think I need another 10 inches in width all around, at least. It definitely doesn't look like the above picture. Right now it's 60" in circumference. I will have to muslin with the brocade, too. I may not have a choice in fabric design placement, ulp.

- the underarm gusset definitely needs to be two pieces as Gertie has you draft in her book "Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing".

- I was going to put a side zip in, but that would interfere with pockets and I don't want to try to do that with a gusset, either - too much bulk. But putting an invisible zip in the back in a v-neck is making me leery.

Also, this dress is really hot. Not as in "I look awesome" but as in the fabric is heavy. This could be a problem if I suddenly develop the ability to sweat. Right now, it's just uncomfortable.

But wow are kimono sleeves the most comfortable thing to play harp in ever. Even better than raglan sleeves.

ETA: Whoa. I just figured out the darts, and measured, and I need about 50" for the front and back panels, ie 100" (~2.75 yds) circumference. That's 40" more than what I have in the muslin.  I have 4 yards of the brocade, and it's only 30" wide. That means the skirt will be cut on the lengthwise grain. Unless I piece it. Which could present some interesting design opportunities.

But what to do with the muslin skirt? I could just put a normal waistline on it and gather it? Ho hum.

I also had a thought about what to line the muslin with. Since it's eyelet, I thought putting a dark fabric underneath could be interesting, but then I thought I'd want it to "pop" and wondered if I could find something fluorescent. THEN I thought: REFLECTIVE FABRIC. Now that would sparkle on stage.
motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (bookworm)
The mid-90° weather is suppose to last through next Thursday, so I'm going to commit a list of things to do that don't require a lot of movement to lj, so that when I feel I'm too hot to do anything but sit at my computer and drool into my cereal bowl, I'll have an immediate reminder1:

- quarterly planning
- putting quarterly planning on calendar
- knitting (did quite a bit yesterday)
- hand sewing rolled hem on scarf
- take apart Chinese frogs to see how they're made
- shop for new camera, dangit

1 And keep the list around for the 2nd (currently), and, I'm assuming, 3rd and 4th heat waves.


motorharp: line drawing of kid with glasses intently reading (Default)

May 2017

 1234 56


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated 17 Oct 2017 10:18 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios