Monday, February 29, 2016

Final push on the fancy dress project for R

Hello, everyone.

Y'all might remember that a very special dress project has been underway for a friend of DD2. It was set aside for a while, because when she came for a fitting before Christmas, there were new measurements and discoveries about the way the fabric was laying. I had to think it over quite a bit.

The solution to the wonky lace placement, I think, is to take out the organza that had been the underlining to the lace and replace it with a more stable substrate: Sewin' Sheer, from a piece that had been lying around forever. (Don't know what I'll do when it runs out, apparently it's not around any more.) So now there is a somewhat extensive hand-tacking project underway, as the motifs of the lace are sewn down to the new substrate. This should keep the looser parts of the lace from flapping and stretching all over the place!

Front of lace piece, showing pins holding motifs in place
The thread being used is Mettler polysheen, an embroidery thread for machine use. It blends in very well with the nylon lace.
One of the back pieces, waiting in line

Back of front piece. The lines of stitching are almost invisible.
The other thing that needs to be done is to conceal about a half-inch dart in the seam lines. But with two to work with in front, I expect that will go smoothly.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Found a place for some of the Camino photos

Hello, everyone.

We've been clearing decks around the place and found a place for some of the Camino photos--plus one calendar picture.

Trail photos and landscapes
Just for fun!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I've been working with some of the pilgrimage photos

Hello, everyone.

I'm learning how to operate the cropping function in the Windows 10 photo program. (Since I can no longer open my Photoshop Express 8.)

Original photo of cathedral of Salamanca

After chopping off the bottom to remove the date.
I elected to trim from the bottom because, while it loses the bottom edge of the building, including the doorway and much of the shrubbery, it preserves the end of the building with the bell tower. And we still get a good look at the buttresses.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

So I found the "lost" pictures

Hello, everyone.

The "lost pictures" I was fussing about have turned up: in a directory that is the entire month of February's imports. What's up with that? But it's good to be able to find them.

The Cutter ants are back at work again. They think it's springtime enough I guess.

Fat juicy ants carrying stuff from their tunnels to the edge of the mound

Another mound--this one has multiple nearby doors--hard at work.
 And we tried a new type of fish that we found at HEB grocery: Swai fillets with Cajun seasoning already added. (The first Swai package we tried was lemon-herb and it didn't go well as a baked fish item.) As the Swai apparently doesn't go for the baked fish treatment, I cut the fillets up into strips and breaded and fried them. A little salt sprinkle at the end, and some Ranch dressing for dipping sauce and they were great!
Fried Swai tenders!
Swai apparently is a kind of Far Eastern shark species. The flesh is very delicate, but it responds well to the fried-fish treatment.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A little springtime crafting

Hello, everyone.

Yesterday the plan was to post pictures of the fabric hens--well, today I found the pictures of one of them.

The first fabric hen
 These little gizmos were on Pinterest. "Easy" the comment said. And they are! No triangles, no bias sewing, and if one were inclined one could finish easily by hand instead of machine. the comb and tail are formed by folding.
I got inspired to try decorating one with embroidery.
 This was so easy that several more color versions were getting ready to hatch. Ahem. The second one was cut from some linen pants fabric--it was just so boring that the embroidery needle came out. After finishing, though, the dread question arose: what on earth would I do with a whole flock of these things? By stopping at two, it's a reasonable gift for a grandchild. So I stopped after the second one. For now.
Springtime in the Rio Grande Valley, and the yucca blossoms are coming out.
The first of the yucca spikes is showing and the second one is visibly on the way.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A picture I hadn't really looked at until today

Hello, everyone.

There was going to be a post about making little fabric hens out of squares of fabric. (An Easter gift for GD1) Unfortunately, I still can't find most of the pictures that were imported to the computer after the upgrade to Windows 10. (Microsoft really had a bad day when they changed the way photo import works. It was fine before. Now I can't find anything.)

So, a little picture pair from Pilgrimage 2014:

Ceiling of a church. The coffering appears to be painted, not real. See below.

Detail of the above, showing the Eucharistic pelican. Here her babies are
not in the picture! And you can see that the coffering detail and the scroll
detail appear to be painted on. 
 I'd love to be able to tell you which church this was. Instead, I can say that it was between Logrono and Santo Domingo de Calzada. Estella?

Any reader who recognizes the ceiling and wants to chime in is welcome to do so in the comments.

Friday, February 19, 2016

More simplicifation

Hello, everyone.

It's been a busy week. As part of the simplification/decluttering process, we released a massive, carved, antique dining set to the Salvation Army. (Having ended up with a family dining table and its chairs, there were just too many dining sets in the house!) And we've been making repeated pilgrimages over to their donation center/back side of the thrift store.

There have been many beads, a mixed collection of odd pieces of glass and kitchen gadgets that never quite took off for us, and so on.

Today and yesterday, it's been the sewing room's turn. There's a pile of folded fabric, ties and so on that's about 3 1/2 feet high, that's going to go over there the next time someone goes.

I wanted to put up a picture of the ribbon rolls that need a new home, but Snap! I just upgraded to Windows 10 and I can't find the pictures that I loaded from the SD chip.

A gratuitous puppy picture!
Obviously I need to do more work on the picture management end of this program. Not to say, this stupid program.
Microsoft, you didn't need to mess up, oops, completely rearrange the way Windows 7 handled pictures. That was working fine. And it made a new folder every time I uploaded the chip to the box. It was great. Now I can't even find the pictures I uploaded to the box, to add them to the blog--or anything else I might want to add them to. Like maybe an email.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

This past week was somewhat busy

Hello, everyone.

As part of our ongoing simplification of life (y'all might remember a desire for simplicity was a gift of our first Camino in 2014) we began clearing our major chunks of stuff.

It's difficult.

So as a consolation for missing posts, a few bits of pretty:

Found a couple of beets in the garden--these are enough for a meal for the two of us!

Mango flowers. Yum! But not counting chickens before hatching.

Newest orchid blossom on DH's hanging basket collection

First paper-white of the year! They smell so pretty.
I did look in at the Camino Forum and saw a weather warning for the Portugues--lots of flooded roads in Galicia right now. It's in the landing area for a big Atlantic storm system, I think.

Monday, February 8, 2016

One of the (many) grapefruit cake recipes out there

Hello, everyone.

My sweetie has been trying to use up grapefruit a lot this year.

He's made a batch of grapefruit wine. (Seen here in secondary fermentation, under the carboy jacket with beer bottles on it. After this he clarified it and let it set in the big jug some more, and then he bottled some and racked the rest...ran out of containers.)

Grapefruit wine in the back, a beer kit in the front. White bucket in background on floor contains sanitizing solution for cleaning hoses, testing equipment, and whatnot.
 Then he made a grapefruit cake recipe he found on the internet. It was a fairly basic white-ish cake. Used whole eggs, and had some zest and juice in it.
The grapefruit cake--which wanted to slide apart. Thus the toothpicks temporarily in the cake top!
Then he was supposed to pour a boiled-down juice glaze over all and make a frosting with confectioners sugar and juice and butter. (?) The icing wasn't that great at first, but the grapefuit flavor came out more over time. I told him he should try making the French pound cake (quatre quarts) with zest either instead of vanilla or in addition to it, and then pour the fruit glaze over that and call it a day. It might be really good.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Unidentified volunteer (Updated)

Hello, everyone.

There is a volunteer in the flower bed. [update Feb 13 2016: I picked a leaf and sniffed and it smells like parsley. So I guess parsley it is!--the leaf differences being just varieties I guess.)

Is it parsley? Or a similar-looking plant?
 When it first sprouted up next to the potted tomato there had been some parsley seeds in the area and I thought one had escaped. But these pots are from the parsley seeds that might have escaped, and they're not the same plant.
These are certainly parsley--the flat-leaved kind.
 The angles of the cuts on the leaf edges are deeper and pointier.
Max says hello, just because.
My buddy wanted me to stop playing with cameras and pet him.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Garden update

Hello, everyone.

There has been a new item harvested in the garden today!

Beets! And their tops.
 Looking at other things, it was obvious that the baby broccoli needs to be picked again, too.
Baby broccoli os "cut and come again" as the side shoots sprout like gangbusters.