Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Smoke Vacation! Sept. 23, 2014

Yesterday late afternoon - the ground-level smoke had cleared somewhat
I took this picture to show the charming old sawdust-burner, from when this was a lumbermill, all grown-over with a vine. It's turning color at the top - not sure if too much sun/too little water, or fall color. And also to show the exaggerated atmospheric perspective given by the smoky low visibility.

The last time we were having smoke for weeks on end, from over a 1000 fires* caused by one set of lightning storms, I was wondering just how smoky it was in Renaissance Italy, when artists discovered the idea of atmospheric perspective. (How things get fuzzier, lighter, and bluer with distance, caused by more atmosphere between us and them with more distance.)
This was about noon today!
Today visibility is much lower; that further hill which just showed yesterday is gone today. (Maybe just a ghost there.) Normally, I think I remember, there's another hill or two to see...

And the air smells much smokier. So glad I had a chance to open up the house for a while yesterday evening to air out - my rooms had been closed up for 3 days - and even more glad that I was awake in the middle of the night to close it all up again, including the floor which was open before.

*This time it's one giant fire to our Southeast. It's West and Southwest of Lake Tahoe. The King fire.

And the college campus, as well as the high school, is closed today. We've had snow vacation before, but smoke vacation? That's a new one to me.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

More Nomad Dress Ideas (Folkwear#107)

Batik-look version of the Nomad Dress
This mock-up version of the Folkwear #107 Afghani Nomad Dress is made from some of my virtual-batik fabric designs at Spoonflower, a print-on-demand fabric designers' site. Although I have tested these 2 designs shown, the Arts & Crafts Deer and Grapes design, and the 2-Sprig design, the deer in quite a few colors, I have not yet made them in the same color, as shown here. This color prints as a deep rich Aquamarine.

Love Explosion fabrics version of Nomad dress Folkwear#107
This is a more brightly-colored and multi-fabric mock-up, using some of my computer drawn quilting fabric designs. Of these, the hearts and the maple leaves are available, but the Love Explosion and this new color of my 2-Papercuts design I have not yet tried out. But this gives an idea how combining brighter colors would look. The hearts as shown here is a larger version than I tested, I think, but these vector designs can be made any size.

Soon I'll be ready to show the fabrics I'm working on now, derived from the copper batik stamps I just got, and others, which I am making into virtual embroideries instead of virtual batiks, and with textured backgrounds.

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Lassie Came Home August 7, 2014

Lassie on balcony railing. You can see how she might fall off, with the birds going by at eye level.
 (written Aug 29, 2104) (first posted Sept 12, 2014)

She, as it turned out, fell off the balcony, apparently, rather than getting taken off by one of the (now 3!) Great Horned Owls from down the hill. There was some wind, a large branch fell nearby, a drawer that was leaning against the railing fell off, not right below where it was. So she might have made a frightened leap, and she and the drawer fell together.

But Lassie is one of my "kittens". They come running when I call (for food).* I had left them out on the low roof/balcony after dark for the first time, forgetting why I had been so careful to not do that. (The rabbit that I saw the owl killing, before sunset one year, was no smaller than these cats.) It rained some that night. (Yes, rain. August.) When I let them in, she didn't come.

So I called and called. And walked around the house looking, for 2 days. The second night after the evening when she vanished, I was on the balcony, calling. Well, having Siamese cat hysterics, really. Loudly.** And someone said something, somewhere nearby. I asked "who said that?" No one said it again. It didn't seem to be any cat I could see, inside or outside.

But it turns out that Lassie must have found her way up onto the roof right over my head. Because first thing in the morning she found her way in through the high window on the other side of the roof, into the kitchen.

Now, don't you think there is something in the idea of cat names as self-fulfilling disasters? Since it was Lassie , (not Rex or Spot or Grey Mouse) who went off and had an adventure? And came home.

*In fact, a great thundering horde of cat...

**Lisa taught me to speak Siamese long ago. We used to keep in touch that way, going for walks in the woods together. And twice, after she had been missing a long time, she found her way back after I went up on a high place and called, in Siamese cat,"Where are you?" Once we had just moved to a new city, and she had gotten lost. Once, down at the coast, she had been shot. (Hunting chipmunks in the neighbor's garden.) She had to have her shoulder pinned back together.

Siamese cat hysterics, you ask? Speak in Siamese. The same thing that the mama cat says to the kittens when she comes back in and lies down to feed them. Meowwrrrr. With a purr at the end. The same thing that the tomcat says outside the window when he is calling a female to come out and play. MEOWWRRR. Now, louder and deepen your voice. Again, louder and deeper. Stand up straight. Make a megaphone with your hands. Louder and deeper. Let how upset you are show in your voice. Tighten your diaphragm. Put an echoing crack into it at the end of the call. Bounce it off the neighbors house a block away, just to check. And of course, when you do this, all the not-missing cats will stand up and put their paws on your knees, to tell you that they are here. And if they are inside, they will be answering you.

PS Happy Kitten Day, September 7 (The kittens birthday)

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Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Nomad dress ideas

Folkwear #107 Afghani Nomad Dress pattern, using my ideas for Spoonflower "cross-stitch embroidery" fabric designs
 I am thinking of making a Nomad dress from Folkwear pattern #107. Seems like I have always wanted one. But somehow I never noticed this pattern. And here this style is, coming around again.

Back in the day, I would have embroidered  the bodice myself. Today, I am using some of my cross-stitch designs from the '80s to make Spoonflower fabric which I can have printed, and use for parts of the dress.

I'll probably use either fabrics I dye, or lightweight cotton batiks, or both, for most of the dress. Fabric from Spoonflower comes in many weights, but the cross-stitch patterns look best on the linen-cotton canvas, which is heavier than I would use for the whole dress.

To do this version, I need to put those cross-stitch designs on different background colors - I'm thinking of a deep, rich aquamarine which I just tested as a virtual batik. Once I've bought some of the new colors, they will be available for sale too.

Here's a different version, using some of my Decorator Collection coordinates. The bodice and sleeve prints are available for sale now. This one shows the waistband that the pattern has. These vector-drawing patterns can be any size; I'll have to test appropriate sizes for this dress.

Folkwear #107 Nomad dress pattern, another idea using my Decorator collection fabrics at Spoonflower
Sept. 9, 2014 New tjaps today! I captured a couple of my top choices. New virtual embroideries this time, instead of (or in addition to) virtual batiks. Coming soon, with luck. And this time, no chance for the mail carrier to deliver the package to the garbage can so it vanishes!

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