Monday, February 16, 2009

A Walk Along the Snake River

We took a leisurely walk along the Snake River today, at Celebration Park, "Idaho's First Archaeological Park". It's an area of the river where there are a lot of petroglyphs. I'm not sure they know why, but the ancient people tended to use the larger lava boulders with smooth sides facing the water. I don't think they've even deciphered what the pictures mean. Some look like stick people, butterflies, turtles, stars, snakes, but it's hard to say. Still, they're interesting to look at. I'll put more of the pictures I took today up on my flickr site.

It was cold and windy out there, probably in the low 40's. But after we'd been out for a while the wind chill got to us and it felt to me more like the mid 30's. It was great to be out by the water, with a big cloudy sky, the huge river, and snowy Owyhee mountains in the distance. It doesn't seem so bad now, when it's cold. But I can't imagine how hard it must have been to come through this area on a wagon train. Away from the river there would have been just miles of sage brush, alkalai flats, lava fields, and no water. Especially in the hot season.

I keep watching for signs of Spring here, but there aren't many yet. There are daffodil, iris and crocus leaves just starting to poke out in the front garden, but otherwise not much. I have a lot of work to do to get the veg garden ready for planting. And snow predicted for this week. Maybe next weekend, if it's not snowing.

We had a nice St. Valentine's Day. I made a red velvet cake with chocolate frosting. We had King crag legs, sauted scallops, steamed asparagus, new potatoes, and chardonnay champagne, with cake for dessert. We had 'Lost in America' from Netflix to watch on DVD, but the disk was cracked and wouldn't run in our machine. So we watched the last three episodes of Northern Exposure season 3. It was a nice evening in. We treated ourselves to some favorite foods and it still cost less than going out.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

So many projects, so little time.

There are so many things I want to be doing besides work. Sometimes I wish I was old enough to retire, 'cause I could definitely keep myself busy doing all the projects I have planned.

Made spiced candied walnuts today. Found a recipe on Epicurious and made my own adjustments to it. I'll post the recipe on my Facebook page.

Found a cool book at the bookstore yesterday. About making skirts without patterns. It was so full of great tips about how to measure and draft basic skirt shapes that I couldn't resist. I've been sewing since middle school and making period costumes since my 20's using the measure and draw method. But this book had good info in it that I'd either forgotten or didn't know, with clear pictures and some fun ideas. Very inspiring. (If only there was a book like it for fitted period bodices :). This book is going to help me make a petticoat for my 1800's outfit. And maybe a new SCD dance skirt.

I ordered seeds this past week. I've already received my order from Territorial Seeds. Still waiting for Tomato Growers. There's many more seeds I'd like to get from other places, but with 8 different tomatoes already, plus parsnips, soybeans, and two kinds of pumpkins, I figured that's enough for this year. I also want to try lettuce from seed tape. It sounds so easy - I might actually get myself to grow three or four heads at a time and plant again every a few weeks over the summer. So I may still order that. Those are from Burpee. They may have been somewhat unkind about taking over Dan Hinkley's garden at Heronswood, but they do have some cool seed varieties.

I've also got at least three embroidery projects in various stages. One is a copy of a really cute Christmas wreath I bought years ago in Jamestown (eastern Calif). It has little stuffed felt shapes; mittens, stars, trees, hearts and moose heads, in various colors of felt with snowflakes embroidered on them. I hope to finish that one in time for next Christmas, for my mom.

I managed to finish the Laura I. Wilder outfit in time - almost. I had to use big safety pins to close the skirt, cause I just couldn't make myself stay awake long enough to competently sew on hooks and eyes. That won't take long to do one afternoon after work. Plus a few other touch-ups I want to do on the skirt as well.

The event itself went pretty well. The theme this year was Little House in the Big Woods. There were over twice a many kids this year. They didn't have baby chicks to look at, but there was soap carving, pretend baking with salt dough, butter-making, hair-braiding, cornpone to eat, plus old-time household items and animal skins to look at and touch. Ken and I were supposed to teach a few rounds of Strip the Willow, but there were just too many people. So he fiddled and I did rhythm with the straws on his fiddle strings. We got lots of compliments and appreciative comments. Ken found an old picture of someone doing that while looking for old fiddle pictures online.

No daffodil leaves coming up in my garden, far as I know. I should probably have a look. It's still pretty cold here. We're supposed to get a bit of snow overnight, but it's going to get up to 40F during the day. So the snow won't last. I'm not quite ready for winter to be over. But I'm sure there are plenty of people in the midwest who would be thrilled, so I can't begrudge them. Spring doesn't last long here, but it's beautiful. Always makes me wish I'd done more during the Fall to prepare the soil and get more Spring-blooming plants put in. It'll be time to rake all the oak leaves off the back garden pretty soon. Lots of garden projects out there waiting for enough time to do them. Once it's warm enough I'll have to pull out all the dead plant material from the veg garden and get a few loads of composted manure on there. Hopefully next month we can do that.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Short Gown is Done

Here it is, February, and I haven't posted here yet. So here's a quickie until I can write more.

I'm done with the short gown and working on the skirt for the Laura Ingalls Wilder celebration on Feb. 7th. I'll probably have to finish things up on Friday evening if I want to be ready. I want to go to Aikido tonight, but I'm not sure I should.

This is a picture of the short gown. I'm not happy with the fit. I should've put a bit more width into the whole body, just for added ease. I also need to change the curve between the body and arms. It's too short and narrow so it bunches up a bit under the arms. The pattern, which is really just a series of measurements that allows you to draw the pattern pieces onto your fabric, lets you draw that curve. So I'm thinking next time I'll try a coffee can or something bigger, to make the curve more gradual.

The lining worked out ok, but it feels stiff to wear. I have more of the fabric, so I could do another one, but it seems a shame to have made the first one and not wear it. Guess I'll see how it goes on Saturday.

The skirt is coming together pretty easily. I just don't have time to do the cartridge pleating, so I'm going to do big gathers instead, as big as the sewing machine will allow. The pattern instructions don't call for interfacing in the waistband, but I'm thinking it would be nice to have. I think I can dig some up from my own supplies. I'll be sure to post a few pictures when all is done.