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I hate cleaning. So far all I've managed to accomplish is a bit of tidying up and I've vacuumed the stairs and cleaned the baseboards of the stairs.

This morning, instead of doing more cleaning I chose to organize and inventory my Tournaments Illuminated issues. Then I thought, aw heck, how about doing a bit more scanning. I always tend to choose older issues to scan rather than the newer ones (you know, in case anything should happen to my collection, it's the older stuff that is harder to replace of course). Today I happen to be working on 1986. It's fascinating to me how this magazine has changed over the years. This particular issue for example, has wasted 3 pages on "lost sheep" (these people have moved and we can't mail their magazines to them, if you know where they are please contact us - really? was this of interest to the general readership even at the time?). This issue also had a crossword (lame). This is total rubbish for me as I'm only here for the articles. But I'm scanning it anyway as I am a bit of a completist. And did you know at one point that there were color interior pages! The number of pages per issue also varies widely. When I'm done the scanning project I'll summarize the high and low number of pages

Today's TI is a pretty slick thing. It's been good for years. I'm still irritated by the decision years ago to revoke the Kingdom Newsletter -OR- TI option. Back then, getting TI was a genuine incentive for me to get a membership. Now it's purely a financial decision based on how many events I plan on attending in a given year and whether or not I'll be hitting a big war. And I honestly wish I didn't have to get the Kingdom newsletter as it has only proven useful once. I actually tried to use it to go to an event last week, but the directions provided by the group were impossible to follow. Only 2 turns were given, one directed you to turn North on an East-West road, the other directed you to turn on a road that they gave the name of, but which did not have a road sign. I definitely have issues with how groups here give directions - sigh. I'm sure unbundling TI was a financially motivated decision, but ironically, when they removed the TI option, I ceased to be a member, picked up the missed issues of TI on ebay and thereby denied them of any income. It wasn't completely my intent to stick it to the corporation (as if they'd notice one less member) but it just worked out better financially for me that way. I think it is interesting that the BoD is talking about allowing people to subscribe without memberships. I don't think I'll be taking that option as I hope Pennsic is in our future for the next few years, but I like that the option for a stand alone subscription might be there for me if I wanted it.

The SCA itself has become a bit of a conundrum for me lately. Events are boring. There's only so much you can do as a spectator, and only so long that will be interesting. After 15 years there's not much I want to just watch. I don't really know anyone here and I'm not getting to know anyone here really well because I simply don't come out enough. I'm not really active in anything that is done publicly (I still sew, weave and lampwork, but that's not the kind of thing you do *at* events). I'm still really enjoying the crafts and hobbies that come with the SCA, but I'm not excited about participating. And it's totally my fault. People here recognize me from one event to the next and they are friendly, but I'm not putting in the effort to remember names or really make connections. I miss all my friends from elsewhere. I'm also feeling with the baby that I just don't have the energy for this. Jason doesn't want to waste his weekends on the SCA, and I don't blame him, that's his choice, but once I've packed up all the stuff, driven out there, and spent all my time baby wrangling I just don't have a lot of spoons left for making connections. I probably just have to stick with it and make an effort, I always feel a little out of sorts when I move to a new place. It just doesn't usually take me this long to fit in.
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I realized while at Pennsic exactly how long it's been since I did any work with
glass. I hadn't touched the torch since I got too big in my pregnancy to get
near it and my festoons were from 2005?!?! At the time I made them I was really happy with them of course. But time changes, we learn things, and we start to realize what is wrong with the old stuff and start wanting new stuff. Also, I'm going to another event next weekend, and it's an A&S geek-out so I really wanted something new to wear to it.

This afternoon, in the sweltering Texas heat, I braved my garage and spent a few
hours making new beads. I recycled some of the acceptable beads from my old set,
incorporated some lovely metal bits I'd bought down here, and overall I'm pretty
pleased with the result.

DSCF0230

There are still a few "modern" beads in the lot (there's only 4, can you spot
them?), but they stand out a lot less, or at least that is my feeling on it. All
of the beads I completed today were attempts at exact copies of period finds
(down to the colors used), though sometimes the glass got away from me and I
ended up with something that had a slightly different shape, or the zig zags
were wonky. A couple of them ended up being dead ringers for the pictures
though, and that made me most pleased. Unfortunately in this shot you don't get a good view of the millefiore cane I made and pulled myself today. Used some tips I got from someone at Pennsic and it turned out rather well. Still lots of room for improvement. But for the first time back at it in over a year I've got no complaints.

I also bought a bunch of linen at Pennsic and then picked up even more (as if I
needed it) at Hancocks because they had a ridiculous, and utterly irresistible
sale when I got back. Spent today getting it all pre-washed, so expect future
posts on the consumption of linen :) Speaking of which, time to move more of it over to the dryer and head to bed.
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Went to an event in Houston Saturday. Just Georgia and I and some people we brought to help cover the cost of the gas. Jason stayed home and didn't do a whole lot of anything with his day off as far as I could tell. I took classes on:

* Planting your own herb garden - class was meh, no handouts, didn't learn anything I wouldn't have learned from a modern gardening seminar
* Some sort of dance class - the ones where all you do is walk in time to the music, Georgia LOVED this, music, walking and occasionally spinning around, everything baby likes
* Period place-settings and table manners - excellent class, wonderful handouts
* Fingerloop braiding - not intentional, I was looking for somewhere to have a nap and I passed the room and the teacher seemed overwhelmed so I wandered in to help. I just stood next to her making more kits (she didn't have enough) and untangling her yarn. I was ACTUALLY helpful, not the "helpful" where someone wanders in and takes over a class. And she didn't do the braids the way I do them, or the way they are done in the Compleate Anachronist on the subject, so it was very good that I demonstrated the self-control to not try to "help". When people asked me questions I actually answered "sorry, can't help you, ask the teacher".
* Period Ointments - Same person that did the herb class, so just about as useful. However there was a woman in the class who was GREAT with babies so Georgia had an excellent 2 hours playing with her and I did come away with some massage oil and enjoyed the conversation, so overall I'd call it a win. More of a win in terms of socializing than learning though.

The drive was somewhat frustrating. I only had 1.3 hours of sleep the night before and I was doing all 6 hours of driving, so I was extra irritable. One of the passengers considered herself good with babies (she is a part time nanny apparently) but made Georgia cry and fuss when she started out calm, so that was frustrating as all heck for me. She'd do things like trying to fish Cheerios out of the car seat from under her. If the baby is calm just leave her alone already. No point in even stopping the car to calm her because I knew this woman would just set her off again. So most of the drive was spent with screaming baby and the woman saying "I'm sorry" to Georgia over and over.

Lunch was good if you got there early, but apparently they didn't have enough food for everyone. I was 2nd in line so it worked out fine for me.

Today Georgia woke us up early and I decided to go out and tackle the lumber in the garage. There still isn't room to park the van indoors like I'd hoped for, but I'm almost done making the baby cart (still haven't completely assembled it yet so I honestly don't know whether it will work). Have to run out to Lowe's tomorrow because I need a few more parts to finish it.

That's probably the last project I will get done this week as I have to turn to packing for the Ontario trip. So much to do and never enough hours in the day.
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I love Target! Yesterday I found SCA appropriate footwear for my baby. They only had them in sizes up to 24 months, but as she's just in the 0-6 month size now at 10 months my hopes are high for these lasting a few years. And they were on clearance! Managed to get every size but the 12-18 month ones. Go me and go Target!

The sewing is coming along slowly. I got Georgia's sleeves hemmed yesterday on her second dress. Think I might tackle all the hems today so I can start fresh on new dresses tomorrow.
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First thing not to do:
Do not try to sew something when tired. More precisely do not cut your favorite piece of fabric that you've been drooling over all week when tired. And do not try to do so while rushed. I had one step that I needed Jason's help for and he wanted to go to bed so I said "just help me with this and then you can sleep". I measured it once, he questioned my measurement but I was sure of myself and didn't double check. We marked it off, he went to bed, and I proceeded to cut the body of my dress 10 inches too short - fuck.

Second thing not to do:
Do not attempt to fix this mistake when both tired and now angry. I figured out how to recover the body but needed to re-cut the arms as a result. Measured it fine, didn't make sure the cutting mat was under the cut line before running the rotary blade over it. Lovely dining room table now has an annoying gash in it that probably no one else will notice, but that will mock me until I refinish the table and sand it out. Which of course I am not going to do for years because I have a baby who will probably add more gashes and crayon and marker and all manner of things that I will have to come back and fix when she's old enough to know better. It's just annoying that I was the one to make the first mark.

Third thing not to do:
Do not stay up all night because you simply have to see if your reworking of the pieces is going to produce a functional garment. Yes, after all this, even though I knew my math should be good at this point and that it will fit fine I had to stay up all night and push through its assembly. And measure and cut a few more dresses for good measure. To redeem my measuring skills I guess. Tomorrow morning (will come in about an hour when baby wakes up for her first feeding) is going to hit me hard.

On the bright side, the dress is together and no one will be the wiser. The seam allowance had to be smaller than my usual and the front slit is going to have to be hand finished in buttonhole stitch rather than simply pressed and turned, but it will look fine to anyone who doesn't know I didn't plan it that way. Just need to finish that slit, hem the bottom and wrists and I'm one dress closer to my Pennsic wardrobe. Add that to the one dress that was completed months ago, the dress that is all but hemmed from last week and I'm up to 3 dresses for 10 days - eeep. There's also one dress cut out and a final length of fabric on the table waiting for that long, 2-person measurement. Need a few apron dresses to wear over these and I can round out my wardrobe with the 4 or 5 Roman outfits I have and I'll be good to go. It's later than I'd hoped (I wanted all my stuff done by mid-June), but I may yet get this all done in time for Pennsic.

Still on the Pennsic to-do list after my clothes are outfits for Georgia, a few new shirts for Jason and attempting the cart for Georgia.
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Have spent the morning mulling over the concept of a baby-cart for Georgia. I think I've got it all worked out so tomorrow I will go and pick up the lumber and maybe I'll start playing with it over the weekend. I figure it will run be about $60 for parts, then another $30 for the mattress and maybe a bit more to cover it with a pretty fabric. Or I might just end up making some very expensive firewood, we'll see.

Also in the plans is cutting out more Eura dresses and an apron or two. Might even go and cut out the first apron right now while G naps.

In other news, the house stinks. It smells like garbage and I have no idea where it is coming from. I have dragged the garbage out of the garage and aired it out. I have taken out the kitchen garbage, I have run the sink disposal and put lemons down it and I have searched the fridge for bad food. I've opened the windows (and it is shittingly hot today I might add) and burned scented candles and still I am defeated. Off to take another pass at it I guess...
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Had a brilliant lightbulb moment last night with respect to my costuming... specifically that I've wanted to make wool trim for some time but it always felts all to hell or bleeds dye or both... why not use sock yarn? Until I started knitting I didn't even know there was such a thing. It is wool, sometimes blended with other fibers, that is treated to resist felting and be machine washable. While this strikes a blow to being period, it does allow the use of both wool and a washer, which makes it not the worst idea every for camping clothes. Sock yarn is also fine enough to not be ridiculously thick (or at least I don't think it will work). Anyway I picked up a few skeins of solid colors today and I will give it a shot sometime this week and report back.

Haven't accomplished much else today. Stayed up REALLY late reading LJ after I posted my last entry because I was missing everyone. Maybe not the best choice in the world as far as being awake and able to function today. Have roller derby practice this afternoon, I anticipate having my butt handed to me in a glorious way.
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I cheated a bit, I passed the ugh point by throwing it in a bunch of boxes and tossing it up on top of my shelves. Not the most visually appealing solution to the problem, but far better than them all being piled up around the floor. Still have 3 metal strips to hang (that you can stick magnets to) and a couple of pictures and some things to hang my rulers and hold up the ironing board and the room will be complete! I promise to take pictures when it's totally done.

I did get to get in there and actually use the room today which was awesome. It's not that I haven't sewn since moving, because I certainly have. It's just that I've been doing it amid piles of junk, working on the very corner of my desk, stepping over things to move around the room and generally feeling cramped and overwhelmed when I entered the room. Now everything is organized, in theory I know where it all is (in truth it will take me a few months to get used to the set-up and remember where I decided to put everything, but it's a start) and it's quite relaxing to work in there.

Sunny came over today to help me work out a cutting diagram for a Eura dress. Despite our best efforts it still came out just a touch on the skinny side. Totally wearable, but I'm hoping future versions (where I don't cut a 6" strip off the side of my fabric because there's a massive flaw there) will end up fitting better. On the upside, I now know that I can make a dress for myself out of less than 3 yards of fabric including shrinkage. I might even be able to get away with 2.5 yards depending on the shrink, as long as I'm left with 82" to work with (which is exactly what I had today). How cool is that? Just have to get it hemmed and finish up the embellishment around the neck and it's ready to be packed. 1 down, 4 more to go I think. Then a few aprons and as many dresses for Georgia as I can fit in to the time.

On the downside, very little fabric left to turn into something for Georgia today. I figure that 6" strip might make a nice little apron dress for her if I'm willing to do a bit of piecing.

Anyway, off for my 4 hours of sleep. It's nice that my body is finally back to the point where I can function on less than 8 hours. Not that I should be making a habit of it, but it's nice not to crash.
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I've hit the Ugh Point in my efforts to clean my sewing room. You know how when you're cleaning and organizing you put away the things you love first. Then the things you think are just okay but are easy to find a home for. And finally you get down to the point where all you have left are things that you look at and go "ugh". It's the stuff that you could maybe throw out, but if you hold on to it you might find a use for it. Or the things that are an awkward shape to store. Or the weird odds and ends that simply don't fit into your organization scheme anywhere so you can't really figure out where to put them that you might have a chance of finding them again if you wanted to.

The curtains are hung, the wall of fabric is all stacked and sorted neatly and I've stashed as much ugh as I could into boxes and baskets, and still I have junk on the floor and not a single surface is entirely cleared. Sunny is coming over tomorrow to help me fit a euro dress (not that much fitting, I'm just having trouble figuring out the math with the gore that runs from wrist to ankles) and she brings with her a very mobile but very young baby so I really have to have the place spotless. Up to now we've just closed the door to that room, but that won't do when the whole plan is to work in there. I'm thinking I might just call it a night and tackle it again in the morning.

In other news, the yard warming party went well on Sunday, though not entirely as I'd planned. I got the house mostly cleaned, with just a few dishes and the mopping of the kitchen floor left to do. Outdoors it was perfect. I hadn't refinished every piece of furniture yet but it was all perfectly serviceable and nicely arranged. It was an ideal set up except for one little thing I hadn't counted on... the muggy hot weather. People showed up, said "nice yard" and immediately fled to the air conditioned comfort of the kitchen. The kitchen where there are only 5 chairs. Not exactly ideal for a group of 15 people. At any rate, everyone got fed with plenty of everything left over. Everything wrapped up around 8 as planned. It's still not completely cleaned up (I've been too tired to face dishes and G was a bit cranky today so I was all for using that as an excuse).

Saturday was a local SCA thing. Jason elected not to come. Georgia and I attended. I mooched my way through the pot luck meal. I had intended to just run home to eat as we lived a mere 10 blocks away or so but someone insisted I borrow a plate and eat since there was more than enough to go around. I figure I had enough karma points as I've hosted a few things at my place and had a free eats table at an event here when I was pregnant. There was live music which G enjoyed. And other children which were at times a pleasure as Georgia found them interesting and at other times an irritation as they insisted they should be able to play with Georgia's things without letting her touch any of theirs and they were often not as careful as I'd have liked them to be around the baby. G bit me while I was feeding her as I tried to move while doing it so I've been a bit tender for the last few days. Seems to be clearing up after what has felt like forever, but which I realize is only 2 days. Used one of my fancy new slings to back carry her for a large portion of the event and she seemed very pleased with that arrangement.



The gentleman I'm speaking to is Stefan of Stefan's Florilegium. Really nice guy and one of my favorite people here. And one of the few people with whom I was not talking politics that day.

The event concept was an interesting one. It's something they call "land court" and the idea is that you petition the B&B for land for your persona based on your titles and the taxes you promise to pay by your intended use of the land. I was asked to head up the local fiber arts guild so promised I would use whatever land was due to me to raise sheep. I was given the 400 acres accorded to my status and an extra 100 for the promise of woven trim to be given as largesse. I was also gifted with 100 acres to hold in trust for Georgia. They had someone calligraphing names and the size of the plot on charters (like scrolls but photocopies on nicer than standard paper) which I thought was really cute. I had mine displayed on a bookshelf but I see that it has moved so I should probably ask Jason in the morning what he has done with it. You then get to write in on a giant map of the city and surrounding area where you would like your land to be. Very cute concept and a bit of fun persona play.

Other than the actual in-court stuff people spent a great deal of time discussing the mundane. Especially the health care thing. Very polarizing issue. The native Austinites all seem in favor of the plan. Anyone who has moved in from the more conservative parts of the state (ie everywhere else) seemed to actually believe the whole Obama death panel bullshit the republicans have been throwing around. One guy actually said something to the effect of "my wife and I are resigned to the fact that we'll die under this new plan because the funds will be allocated to certain races and on a priority level by age and there just won't be anything left for us if we need it" Funds allocated by RACE?!?!?! What kind of crack is this guy on? He followed up that gem with "this bill will kill the insurance companies. Maybe not immediately but in the next 10 years. And then it will all be handled by the government" My retort was "and you say that like it's a bad thing." He changed the subject very quickly when I stated that I'd done some research when I was pregnant that indicated our infant mortality and maternal mortality rates were the worst in the civilized world, even when you take the uninsured out of the equation, and that we also spend the most per capita. How can a system in which you spend the most but get the least be a good thing? He quickly changed the subject after that. Typical republican. When faced with actual data and facts that don't fit their world view they just pretend they didn't hear it. Much better to blindly believe the hyperbole and outright lies coming from their leaders and Fox Newscasters. *sigh*

People keep pointing out that their health care must be good because people come from other countries to get care here. Yes and no. There are 2 types of people who come here for care... people with the money to buy whatever they need and the people who enjoy the charity of coming from a third world nation with some kind of strange affliction that will get the attention they need to get people to donate to their transportation and treatment. Of course it's better care than what the person in the third world nation is getting, and that other person is coming for one of 2 things, either they are too impatient to wait for something non-critical in their country's socialized system or they need some cutting edge thing that is only being done here. That's not to say that all the cutting edge work is being done here either, just that the particular thing they need is. But the truth is that people do the exact same thing in Canada except for the queue jumpers. We also have third-worlders come and get charitable donations to have treatments performed in our system and people coming to enjoy cutting-edge procedures being performed only inside our borders. But we also get Americans crossing the border into Canada to get health care less expensively than they could in the States. If the system is so great why would someone with access to it choose to go elsewhere eh?

On one hand I feel very strongly about health care and don't mind letting people know where I stand. On the other hand I feel like the people on the other side aren't going to listen to me anyway, so other than stating that I disagree with them (just for the purpose of giving them an idea that maybe they are not as much of a majority as they'd like to believe) I don't see much point in having the discussion. They are never going to convince me that the for-profit model is the right way to do things and I never see myself getting through to them so it's rather a lot like banging my head against a brick wall, and at the end of the conversation I always have a head ache like I've been doing just that. There are so many things that I feel so strongly about that are coming in under that "too frustrating to discuss" category (abortion rights, gay rights, women's rights and the importance of labor laws that promote healthy families and support equal opportunity for women).

However, even when people share my views, and there were many there that did, it's still not the kind of talk that puts you in a medieval mindset.

to sum-up: socialized medicine = good, idiot rhetoric-spouting republicans = bad. Talk of nothing but modern politics at an event = bad.

G baby spent most of the event playing happily on my cloak on the floor and charming everyone that walked past. Everyone complimented her on being an excellent, well-behaved baby, which of course she was because we were out in public where she could flirt.



Finally, a bit of Georgia news. Jason insists that she did her first sign on Saturday. He thinks that she asked to be changed twice that day. He noted that she didn't struggle or squirm as much during the change as usual, which confirmed his opinion that she'd asked for it. She hasn't done it since though, so I'm not sure if it was intentional or that her hands just made the gesture by accident. However today she definitely accomplished something that she hadn't before. I had her standing holding on to the rail at the side of her crib while I ran her diapers down to the laundry. When I came back a minute later she was facing a different direction and holding on to a different rail. Later in the afternoon she repeated the feat while I was watching, side-stepping her way along the railing from one end of the crib to the other, screeching with delight the whole way. Step one of cruising is complete. She's still got a ways to go before she's walking, and she has yet to master pulling herself up to a sit much less a stand, but the days of a relatively easily contained child are coming to a close. She's also getting much closer to a crawl. The tummy still drags on the ground but she can really motor around the floor now, crossing the entire room to the exact spot she wants to get to in a minute or less.
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Normally I don't object to the work that comes along with guests. A few extra loads of laundry, a bit of vacuuming, cleaning a bathroom I don't normally use, extra dishes, all no big deal. Removing all the viruses they bring in by checking their e-mail on my laptop on the other hand is huge!!!! I lost an entire day this week to that crap. Every single time I let guests use it I get a virus. I've never gotten one when I'm the only one using it. I didn't think "don't click links and don't open attachments" needed to be said, or that when it was that following those orders would be a problem, but apparently I was wrong. Password protecting my new laptop after that. From now on guests will have a read-only account on the old lappy. (Incidentally, if you're in the SCA and reading this, it wasn't Ben or Heather using my machine, it was Ashlie, and the time before that it was my father).

tales and pictures of Ashlie's week here including the concert behind the cut )

the mandatory Georgia update with pictures )

In other news the yarn shop had a great yarn sale this week and I am officially addicted. So much for the rule that my stash will be contained to one box. At the moment it's still just a single box, but it is overflowing badly. Must knit more. And need to give away the two balls of crappy yarn I bought years ago. If I'm never going to use it I might as well part with it.

Today I have a big day planned. Before Jason left this morning I got all the carpet on the stairs and main floor vacuumed, including moving all the furniture. I still have to clean the kitchen and all bathrooms, including mopping, vacuum the upstairs and make the second guest bed. Then get dinner on and have it all ready by the time my sister and parents walk in the door. Georgia is having a quick nap so I'd best get on with it.
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Old post I started writing on Monday. Might as well throw it up even though I'm not sure where I was going with this and am not feeling a need to finish it.

****************
This weekend I went to an event here in town. I had just intended to show up, hit a few classes and be home by dinner. When I got there I ran into William, and feast sounded interesting so he talked Georgia and I into staying. It's the first time I've done an event without another adult that arrived with me in a long time, and the first time with a baby. It was interesting. William also talked me into playing with them during the dancing. I got the privilege of playing a recreation of the ancient Egyptian equivalent of a tambourine ;) Even with that simple an instrument I wasn't "great" but I had fun. Georgia even enjoyed the music. They had a harpsichord there! I've never seen one of them played live, so that was amazing.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about all the different things I've tried and done in the context of the SCA, a sort of SCA resume or just a summary of experiences.

Read more... )
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To the hosts of every pot luck I've ever attended where all I brought was chips and dip or humus, I'm sincerely sorry. This is a shitty pot-luck contribution. Granted, I never brought "store brand" stuff of questionable quality, but that doesn't really excuse it. I also think I only ever did that when it was a "snack" or "party" pot luck rather than a dinner one. Inedible store-bought "sugar cookies" that taste like neither sugar nor cookie also blow. And that was all the contributions that came tonight - sigh.

On the bright side, at least I made chili so there was real food. Otherwise it would have been a very sad affair. Does not give me incentive to host another one though, that's for sure.

Also did not manage to get the house completely clean, so that was a wash. Damn. Georgia barely let me get the chili made and get showered, so any more than that was really right out for today.

*shrugs* at least the class went well, so in theory I have learned how to make nalbound mittens. We'll see how well I can turn theory into practice this week. Or maybe I'll have to back-burner it until after the holidays in favour of getting the place ready for family.

Mini me

Oct. 25th, 2009 11:00 am
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The event yesterday was okay. I ended up staying up very late the night before. Georgia was fussy and not at all in the mood to sleep. I figured if I was going to have to be awake anyway, maybe it was time to get around to making an outfit for her. Made the dress in 2 or 3 hours that night, starting at 11 or midnight. Got up the next morning all inspired about how to make an apron dress work for a baby (no brooches, but I figured some large decorative buttons would make a reasonable imitation) and had to whip one of those up before we left for the event, which took about 2 hours. The apron's not as long as I'd have liked, but that was due to a limitation in the size of my scraps. Hopefully I'll have larger scraps when I make her next one.

I used what fabric I had easily at hand. Of course it was the scraps from my outfit, so I had a perfectly matching baby.

Meant to get a picture of both of us at the event, but of course never got around to it. Maybe I'll remember at the next event. Who knows when that will be though. Hopefully the outfit will still fit.

With all the sewing we got to the event quite late. I believe it was around 2:30 in the afternoon when we pulled in to the site. I had intended to spend most of the day hanging around with William, but I think I saw him for all of 10 minutes over the course of the day. I'd also hoped that Jason might get some archery in, but he decided that bringing the doggies would be more fun than shooting, so he just spent all day sitting around with me, and occasionally wandering off with the pooches. Dogs seemed to enjoy themselves reasonably well. They're getting very used to people in funny outfits, and seem to have realized that most of them will share food. Even Lizzy isn't her usual shy self when we go to events.

It was a beautiful day. Sunny with just a little bit of a breeze and the perfect temperature for me to be utterly comfortable with neither chills nor sweat. October in Texas really is fantastic as long as it's not a rainy day. In the evening it dropped down a tiny bit, but only enough that I wanted a shawl, not a cloak or a coat, so again, right about perfect.

I ended up spending my afternoon sprawled out on a blanket under a sunshade with a woman named Elizabetta (not sure on the spelling). She lives rather near us and has a beautiful 6 month old girl. She and I have been having many of the same issues (leaky boobs that just don't let up) so it was nice to compare solutions with her. She doesn't do the cloth diapering thing, so nothing to discuss there, which is a bit of a bummer since I am very excited about that subject. And of course we were able to discuss babies and garb, both making garb for them and coming up with nursing-appropriate gear for us.

Speaking of which, I decided to splurge and buy myself a more appropriate pin for my Norse ensemble. There's a local merchant down here whose stuff I just love. It's simple, inexpensive, and pretty accurate. I picked up a lovely brooch, and while I was looking through his Norse coin thingies for new danglies because I'm thinking it's about time to get back to the torch and make myself some new festoons he complained that people usually look at those and say "I can make that myself". My response was "well yeah, I could but then I'd have to invest in the tools to do so, and that's why I'd rather just buy them." He grinned and exclaimed "for you, 3 for $20" which was quite the steal. I was so pleased with the price that I picked out 6 lovelies for myself. His wife also took a chance to gripe about people who want to buy the metal bits and beads from Michael's and make their own festoons and I explained that I only want to make my own because I make my own beads. "Well that's totally different and good" she agreed.



I'll probably be back to buy more bits and bobs from them in the future. They have a rather reasonably priced brass needle case that I rather admire and lots of lovely Thor's hammers. Elizabetta commented that she didn't care for the period pins because she didn't want to be fussing with a pin while baby is crying for food and that she was going to go with hooks and eyes instead. But I discovered a neat thing... I can just leave the pin in place and slide myself out below it. It's also a lot more discrete than undoing the whole thing, which is what I was doing before.

The evening kind of left a sour note in my mouth, so I figured I should write about it.You're welcome to skip this part )

Anyway, have to run to the grocery store and pick up some supplies to make dinner for the gang tonight.

Insomnia

Jul. 31st, 2009 03:58 am
norsegirl: (Default)
It's my own damn fault. I was teaching an inkle weaving class tonight (worst class I've ever taught, I swear my brain has just leaked out my ears, but everyone was patient and seemed to get it by the end, it just took longer than normal) and didn't have enough looms on hand to accommodate said class, so I spent today out in the garage frantically making a bunch of looms. Managed to get 5 looms made (I copied the mini-loom I picked up at Estrella) and sold one at the class so that covers the cost of all the materials - yay! Unfortunately, it took 7 or 8 hours to make them all. Because I spent too much time with the power tools every joint in my body aches. For the first time in my pregnancy my ankles are swollen, and my wrists are killing me. My elbow on the left side ain't great either. I think I was holding the hand-sander on that side. I desperately need a bench top sander and I've now got my eyes on this beauty, though I am also considering this model. Or if I really wanted to splurge (and believe me, I do) I think I might go for something a little more powerful. I also banged my shin against a loom while teaching my class and it feels like I may have bonked my arm at some point too. I managed to get a few hours of sleep by putting a heating pad on the ankles. How funny is that... running AC and a fan while using a heating pad. Pretty damned inefficient.

I'm still dead-tired, but I can't sleep through all the pain. I also skipped lunch today (partially because I wasn't that hungry, but also because if I stopped and went into the house I'd have to shower all the sawdust off and I wasn't finished being filthy) so I think part of why I woke up may have been hunger. I've had a bowl of cereal and now I've got indigestion so I'm not sure what I should do. I could pop some Tums and some Tylenol and try for the sleep thing again or I could give up, get something done around the house (I've already unloaded the dishwasher, but maybe I could tackle a project) and just nap later this afternoon. I'm thinking I'll stop in at the chiropractor's in the morning and see if there's anything she can do to help.

In good news, beagles were well behaved all day even though I was out in the garage and completely out of sight for most of the day. Even if they can't be with me, they seem to benefit from just knowing I'm close. It's only when I leave completely that they get neurotic. Also, it was a good day to be out in the garage. It rained in the morning so I don't think it hit 100 today. Still close, but every degree cooler makes a difference.

I'm really looking forward to the fall when the temperature will cool down enough for me to be comfy out there any day, and the baby is out and I'm all recovered from pregnancy and birthing. I can't wait to see the end of the indigestion, loose joints and bulkiness, though I'm sure I'll have lots to complain about immediately after with the sore nipples and bottom.

Well, I've been up for 2 hours now. I guess I'll finish my tea and take another go at this sleep thing. Who among us as children would have predicted that as adults we'd be so bad at something as simple as sleeping?
norsegirl: (Default)
I never did post about the Ikea trip this weekend. I got Jason up bright and early Saturday so we could be lined up before the opened. We waited for half an hour or so before the frenzy began. Fortunately, unlike most of their sales, they had plenty of product in stock, so we were able to get the TV cabinet we wanted as well as both of the book shelves. All pieces were assembled on Sunday afternoon, and while they await a bit of vacuuming in their final destinations and bolting to the wall, so far they're looking good. After securing the furniture we went back in for our free breakfast (yay!) and picked up a couple more little things.

I overdid it a bit as by the end of the trip I could feel the strain in my core muscles. I have been walking rather slowly ever since. Felt good to be physical while I was doing it though.

Today I didn't accomplish much. Mostly just sat around and read depressing stories about the "care" in labour and delivery departments here and watched videos about awful statistics regarding cesarean, maternal death and infant death rates in this country. Birth by the Numbers is an excellent video that highlights just how bad the health care system really is down here. If you can read the ity-bity text in his graphs you'll see that Canada doesn't fare a whole lot better, but it's still better.

I also experimented with Google's free website hosting as Geocities has announced that it will no longer be offering free hosting as of October. Didn't I just move everything there? I'm not completely satisfied with what Google offers, and I'm getting tired of looking for new options that don't cost money and allow me to do html. It's not that hard, why does everyone have to treat us like there's no way we could possibly learn and use it?!?! I'll probably just convert my instructional webpages to Word and hand them off to Stefan for hosting and call it quits on hosting my own site and displaying galleries of my own work. Or maybe I'll use Google for galleries and Stefan's for instructions. I'm still undecided on that one.

Here's what my bead gallery looks like on google sites. You can compare it to the original version of my site here. I HATE the way they force you to insert links (not letting you use href tags to call it something other than an address) and because of the difficulty inherent in inserting pics I decided to table the images instead of thumbnail links to larger images. This has lead to some of the images being smaller than originally intended. Also, they only allow you to display them in "small" "medium" "large" and "original", which gives you very little control on the exact display size. It does allow me to toss up a gallery of work and patterns, but I'm not sure it's the best way to accomplish that. Flickr may actually be a better, easier option. Or just saying "fuck it" and not putting galleries out for the world to see.

I like the idea of putting my work out there mostly because when I'm looking for inspiration or getting started on a new hobby I really like to see other people's work. I'd like to provide that same resource for others and encourage them to share in return, but it's just not worth paying money for, and having to move it every few months as the free sites all shut down just isn't worth it either.

I also spent part of today writing a basic inkle weaving instruction hand out. I offered to teach a class next week and didn't find any that I liked. One of my favourite instructional sites for inkle weaving appears to have shut down. Sadly I didn't print any of the material there, or if I did it has been lost in the move. I'm sure I had something printed from there, so maybe it will turn up some day. Interestingly, I don't own any books on this subject. Very odd for me.

In my reading about the business of birthing down here I also ran across an ad for cloth menstrual pads. This got me thinking, if I can cloth diaper, why not use cloth on myself too? I'm especially thinking this might be nice post-partum when everything there is a little sensitive. I'd rather not have that crap where the adhesive comes loose from your panties and sticks to your skin, or pubic hairs get caught in the adhesive and yanked, or the plastic surface of the pad (or the chemicals in it) irritate my skin when I'm dealing with everything being a little tender down there anyway. Has anyone out there tried cloth pads? What did you think of them?

My plan is to drive Jason to work tomorrow and take myself to the fabric store to purchase the appropriate supplies for making myself some cloth pads. I'm also thinking I might make that trip up to Ikea for the crib and see if I can't get some helpful employee to load it into the van so Jason doesn't have to get dragged back there.

I've been taking pictures of the construction next door, but interestingly, as soon as I start talking about how fast the houses go up here, they decide to slow down. When the stimulus package (and the no-strings-attached $8000 for first time home buyers) was announced there was a big boom in sales and they were rushing to finish all the houses. But now this is the second to last lot in the neighbourhood with a "sold" sign on it, so there doesn't seem to be a rush any more. I'm guessing it doesn't look good for sales if there isn't any construction going on at all. There was no work at all on the weekend, and very little today or yesterday. At this rate there is no way they'll be anywhere near complete when I have the baby. On the bright side, I enjoyed the uncustomary silence over the weekend.

Projects

Jul. 15th, 2009 10:23 pm
norsegirl: (Default)
What have I been up to this week? Quite a bit actually. Especially when you consider that today was a complete write-off. For some reason I'm feeling nauseous. Especially right after I eat. I'm not sure if I'm coming down with something or if the baby is just kicking in weird places. She's fine, the first thing my mum asked was if she was still moving. Yes, plenty, and I'm sure that's not helping me at all. So I spent most of today in bed and all I got done was unloading the dishwasher and cleaning up all my sawdust and debris from the woodworking out in the garage.

Sunday however was fairly productive. I cut all the pieces for the first box and started the assembly. Monday I completed the last little bit of the assembly (I only had enough clamps to do 2 corners at a time, and even then I didn't have enough to do it well, so on Monday I bought more clamps). Yesterday I did the reinforcing dowels and sanded the whole thing. As of now all that needs to be done is some sort of finish. I've told Jason that this is his box, so I'm waiting on him to decide what he wants to do with it. His choices are stain, leave it as-is or I can paint something on it for him (his arms or whatever he likes) and then whatever he chooses I'll throw some urethane on it to protect it. So far he hasn't made any kind of decision at all and it might take him some time to come to one, so I'm just going to post what it looks like at this stage.



Nice looking box if I do say so myself.

There's another little project I finished a few weeks back that I'd been working on since around when my parents came to visit, so I figure I'll post some shots of that too. This isn't so much a construction project as a re-purposing. A friend of mine was using this as a medicine cabinet or something (at least that is what I assume based on the stains from the purple hair dye and the q-tips that were still in it when I got it) and she was getting rid of it when she moved. I figured I'd find a use for it, though I didn't have an idea at the point that I took it. Shortly after moving in I realized that Jason needed a place near the garage door to put his keys and wallet since we no longer had the shelf that we had in Edmonton. I could have put the shelf back up since we still physically possess the shelf, but it doesn't match the style of the room and it was messy having everything just tossed there. So I sanded down [livejournal.com profile] s4rah's old medicine cabinet, painted it to match the walls and installed some cup hooks for the keys and here we have the perfect key/wallet/passcard solution:



I'm really pleased with how it turned out. And also I like that it reminds me of Sarah when I look at it. I miss her.

Photodump

Jul. 15th, 2009 09:24 pm
norsegirl: (Default)

My last orchid from Ikea (by which I mean the last one I bought, not the last one I will ever buy, I'm honest) and the first orchid we bought from an orchid show when we moved here. Great condition on that orchid. Very few flowers and the colour is nothing unique or particularly flashy or special but they came out before any of the other orchids and outlasted them all. As of a few days ago they finally faded and fell off though, so I've only got the one orchid left in bloom now.

I'm feeling like a photodump today. Pics of my SCA campsite at Ansteorra's 30th year last weekend, orchids and beagles behind the cut.

Read more... )

They finally started construction on the lot next to us. The "sold" sign has been there for almost 2 months now, and it seems to me like several other lots have sold and been built on since that sign went up. I was hoping they'd be done before the baby arrived, but with a house taking about 8 weeks and the baby due in a little over 5 the chances of them beating the baby coming home are slim. At least they'll be done most of the work and the bulk of the really noisy stuff at that point. I'll just have to deal with the painting crew and their Mexican ooom-pah music.

While it takes 8 weeks to complete a house, it takes very little time to get it looking like a house at least from the outside. I've decided to take a pic every day of the construction just to share how fast it really is. The whole process absolutely fascinates me.

Here's the house yesterday at noon when the lumber truck pulled up and dropped off the stuff they use to frame out the foundation. I happened to be outside in the garage working on my viking box so I grabbed the camera to start taking the "before" shots.



Here is is today around 3pm or so. The foundation is all framed out and they've dropped off the sand that goes under the concrete. I think tomorrow is just levelling the sand and the noisy concrete work will probably happen over the weekend - just great. And yes, they do work on the houses here every day of the week. I guess one of the many the advantages of illegal immigrant labour is that you can make them work even on weekends.
norsegirl: (Default)
Spent a lot of today sitting around chatting with my mum. Nana is driving her bonkers, nothing new there.

This morning I took advantage of the fact that we left the car outside and opened the garage doors up to let in the cool night breeze and spent my time making a six board chest based on the class notes from the class I took at last weekend's event. I fiddled a bit with the dimensions so I'd have shorter legs and slightly more storage space. I made some mistakes and learned some things along the way and of course used it as an excuse to buy more tools (I needed more clamps for it to go together well). Version 2.0 should be better. Still, this one will be perfectly useful as soon as I get a final sanding pass and figure out how I want to finish it.

Picked up a laptop stand last night so I can stop putting the laptop on my ever-decreasing lap and dropping it on the floor. This will be better for the computer, and means a lot less sweating for me, so I'm happy with that purchase.

Did a bit of work cleaning the post-ant-invasion kitchen. Still need to do a little in there before I can put things away, but at least there was some progress.

Other than that no real news to report.
norsegirl: (Default)
The sleep deprivation is a bit worse than usual. We brought all the right things and still it didn't help. Dallas weather sucks ass. The temperatures are nearly the same as Austin, but the effect is very, very different. I have never felt so sticky and uncomfortable in my life. I can normally sleep through anything, especially if I'm tired. And while pregnancy has made sleep a little harder to come by, I can honestly say that had nothing to do with it this weekend.

We had our fantastic canvas pavilion, which we set up in the shade. We were sleeping in a raised bed on a futon with nothing but sheets (no hot, sticky sleeping bags) and had the back flaps of the tent cracked open for ventilation (because no one can see in past the headboard anyway) and there were no bugs (that was such a blessing) other than ants, which were not the biting variety so I ignored them. And still, if I got even an hour of sleep over the course of the evening, I would be shocked. I didn't sleep great last night despite really needing it because Jason came to bed but then sat there and read for like 4 hours?!?! WTF? It's not like he slept the night before either. Sleep or get out man! A little after midnight I finally got fed up and informed him that those were his choices and he finally turned out the heat-generating, sleep-disrupting light. I suppose he wasn't as tired because as usual, I did the bulk of the driving while he napped. Whatever, he had to set up the tent, pack and unpack the car so it's pretty fair. Lots of people had AC hooked up to their tent. I can't help but feel that must have been expensive, ineffective, bad for the environment and god damn but it was a lot of loud, ambiance-destroying humming. If the pregnant Canadian can deal with it, so can the rest of you.

Thanks to the weather I showered 3 times in 24 hours, with my bra and undies on so I could take some of the cool and wet with me. I spent most of Saturday in an over-air-conditioned hall (which I don't think helped, too much of a shock to the system) and still was completely unable to function the second I stepped back out into the heat. William hates the site, I think because it lacks ambiance. But he also lives near enough that he's not camping. The camping facilities were fantastic. Lots of shade to set up in. Plenty of flat ground. Plug ins and water taps everywhere. Showers with no line-ups and plenty of hot water to go around. The only downside was that the ground was so hard that we had to stake our tent with a sledge hammer and then it took 2 hours to dig/pull the stakes out. That's by far the slowest, most miserable tear-down we've ever had to do, and of course we did it at the hottest part of the day because the hounds were overheating and I'd had enough event, but the rest of the event was nice enough to make up for it.

The event itself was okay. Low-key and not particularly memorable, but it served the purpose of getting us out of the house and doing something different for a day. It's strange not yet having a bunch of friends or word-fame. I'm used to being "on" for every minute of an event. Either because someone I am friends with is chatting with me, or someone is asking me how to do some A&S thing, or I'm participating in something like fighting or eating feast and thus socializing with strangers. It's odd to be completely alone and completely isolated socially in a room full of people. I'm okay with it because I just don't have the energy to be "on" right now, but it's still odd.

Spent part of my day hanging with Violetta. I really like her. Chatted with Stefan of Stefan's Florilegium fame. I also really like him, he's pretty fun and friendly. And of course catching up with William again. Met someone at gate who had visited Perth and was friendly with people down there, so that was a bit odd and funny. The SCA really is a small world.

Arrived on Friday in part to attend and participate in the bardic circle. After some searching gave up without finding it and went to bed. In the morning I took a class on viking-ish boxes that can be made simply and cheaply from a single 1x12x12 and a bit of hardware and am feeling really inspired by that. Once I get some clothes on I'll probably be off to Lowe's for supplies. Wandered around the merchants but didn't feel inspired to even touch anything much less pull out my wallet. There was a potter with some lovely work, but if I bring home more pottery Jason's going to kill me, and even I am realizing we've run out of storage for it. Took a class on sari-wrapping which was also really great, though awkward as hell for me with the belly (and I was using my palla because I didn't think to bring a sari). Then I taught my fingerloop braiding class to a surprisingly small number of people (I've never had that class not sell-out, so I'll probably have to find something new to teach here) and had a nice lunch (perfectly cooked shrimp skewers which took forever but were well worth the wait). Then it was back to camp to try to keep beagles cool (they were unimpressed with my pouring water on them and probably would have been fine even if I hadn't, which just annoyed them more) and wrestle with the tent stakes for 2 hours (we can normally tear down from the point we were at there, with everything but the dog cage and tent already packed, in about half an hour, so it was excruciating) and finally head for home where we treated ourselves to spinach masala and mago lasis for dinner instead of cooking and didn't unpack the car until this morning. Beagles had a pretty good time as they got lots of walks and the site was filled with squirrels. Had to apologize a few times for early morning barks when they spotted a squirrel on the other side of the camp, but we silenced them after only one or two barks so no one seemed to mind. By noon they were so tuckered out from walking and heat that squirrels were practically dancing in front of the tent and they still wouldn't lift their heads enough to woof. They're still in that mostly-unconscious state right now. I think we might take them to the dog park tonight and wear them out even more.
norsegirl: (Default)
I spent my first 4th of July here doing some very un-patriotic things.

First we took the beagles to the off-leash dog park bright and early in the morning. There was supposed to be a "beagle brigade" meeting, but only 2 or 3 other beagles were there, so it wasn't much different from the average day at that park. I assume next month or maybe the month after will be better. The holiday and the heat probably had something to do with it. Beagles had a grand time. It was *just* cool enough that they felt like they could run around and play a bit. Lizzy was a gross, slobbery mess though. And neither of them would stop for long enough to drink until we had them back in the car - dumb dogs.

After the dog park, it was still relatively cool so I decided I'd tackle a project out in the garage. I still owe Emer a gift for her daughter and she was lamenting the availability of SCA-appropriate toys, so this is what I whipped up this afternoon:

Ealdormere
The Animals of Ealdormere - Series 1

Not sure if there will ever be a series two as neither rams nor boars really inspire me. They still need a final bit of sanding, but by the time these were done it was so hot out in the garage that I was finding new places to sweat, so that's getting done another day.

I chose not to make them to scale because I wanted them all to be nice and big and choke-proof. The Holtztiger toys they are modeled loosely after are made out of hardwood and painted and also recommended for children 3+ and I'm thinking it's because of the size variation (some would be small enough to swallow). Mine are made out of softwood instead of hardwood because that's what I had on hand (left over from making the shelves) and it's a little easier to work. Less durable, but I'm not sure getting a little banged up is a big deal; they're toys, not fine art. I've tried to design them so all the parts are relatively thick and well-supported so they are less prone to breakage (things like legs and tails especially).

I'm still trying to decide whether I want to paint or varnish them or just give them a final sanding and leave them as-is. They're going to be your toys Emer, what would you prefer? Also, do these look like something you'd like for M to play with or shall I head back to the drawing board and come up with something else? (I'm cool if you'd prefer something else, I'd rather send you something you want than something that will never be used after all)

So yeah, I spent my Independence Day asserting my independence of America by making little toy animals representing Canadian SCA places.

Tonight backyard bonfire, watching what fireworks we can see from our backyard and making smores. Not the worst plan ever, and no fighting crowds or traffic at the end of the night either.

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